SCOTLAND will have the most robust legislation on buffer zones in the UK, the politician pushing for the law has said.

Speaking at a fringe event at the Scottish Greens conference in Dundee, Gillian Mackay MSP said even if Scotland is the last country in the UK to implement a safe access zone around abortion clinics, it’ll have the best chance of getting through the courts.

The Central Scotland representative is in the process of reviewing consultations to her Abortion Services Safe Access Zones Bill which would see a 150m radius enacted around hospitals and clinics offering abortion services. Protesters would be prohibited from demonstrating within this area.

There have been increasing calls for buffer zones across the UK with concern over American-funded groups holding protests outside clinics such as 40 Days for Life.

Asked by The National when women could expect to see the bill implemented into law, Mackay responded, “how long is a piece of string?”

READ MORE: We're offering a year-long subscription – at any price you can afford

The politician said she didn’t have an exact timeframe but that it would have to come after the UK Supreme Court rules whether a similar law in Northern Ireland is legal. Anti-abortion groups have promised to come forward with a legal challenge on any buffer zone bill Holyrood tried to implement.

She told a Green Party audience: “We are waiting the Supreme Court ruling from Clare Bailey because essentially it will influence what direction we can take in terms of restricting these because our bill and our proposals are quite similar to Clare.

“So that could impact timelines and things like that as well, depending on when we get that ruling.

“In terms of actually when we get to implementation, there is also always that danger, which we know is very real, of a legal challenge that will affect when implementation can take place.

“So, I will keep saying that we will work as hard and as quickly as possible to bring this forward as quickly as we can.”

The UK Parliament is set to debate the issue of buffer zones under an amendment to the Public Order Bill following councils in England taking action to implement protest restrictions.

READ MORE: Independence activists set to rally in Edinburgh on Saturday

Mackay said she’s concerned the bill won’t get through parliament to gain approval, and if it does, whether it would stand up to a legal challenge.

The Green MSP said it’s “brilliant” that local authorities in England are taking steps to protect women from feeling intimated. She added:

“There're obviously ongoing conversations between local authorities and the First Minister about how they can explore [buffer zone] using bylaws, if applicable, to be able to get there if that's quicker than my legislation coming through.

“It's still good to have that embedded on a on a national level and for there not to be that postcode lottery.

“But if individual local authorities who are facing this can have the ability to do that, that would be phenomenal.

“I think even if we are the last, we're still probably going to have one of the most robust pieces of legislation.”

Mackay said even if Scotland is the last to legislate “we could well be one of the first ones to implement because legal challenges mean that things can't go ahead in other places.”

READ MORE: Oxford expert warns Tory austerity drive will return UK to the 1930s

At the SNP Conference, Women's Health Minister Maree Todd said the Scottish Government will use the forthcoming Supreme Court judgement on buffer zone legislation in Northern Ireland to draft “robust law that continues to balance everyone’s rights.”

On the Northern Ireland case, Lord Advocate of Scotland Dorothy Bain QC argued interfering with rights relating to freedom of expression may be "justified", in order to protect personal autonomy of the rights of pregnant women. She cited Article 8 of the ECHR, which guarantees a right to respect for private and family life.

The Scottish Government is waiting on the outcome of this ruling – expected in autumn – before they implement their own measures.