HEALTHCARE clinics in Scotland are set to see another wave of anti-abortion protests from next week.

Evangelical group 40 Days for Life have scheduled “prayer vigils” for both Glasgow and Edinburgh between September 27 and November 5.

It comes ahead of the buffer zones legislation being introduced to the Scottish Parliament after a majority of MSPs backed the final proposal ahead of the summer recess.

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Campaigners called for “movement” on the legislation at the news of more anti-abortion protests set for Scottish healthcare sites.

Scottish Greens MSP Gillian Mackay said that she will give an update on the incoming Safe Access Zones (Scotland) Bill “shortly” after criticism.

The group 40 Days for Life are renowned for targeting women trying to access abortion care in Scotland and beyond, and have been criticised for harassment and their intimidating tactics.

They have been known to hold placards with graphic images of foetuses, approach women trying to use the services, and in England were even found to have forced models of foetuses into the hands of women attending healthcare clinics.

The National: 40 Days for Life demonstration

In Glasgow, they target the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) or the Sandyford sexual health clinic, while in Edinburgh protests are planned for the Chalmers Sexual Health Centre. 

Legislation to introduce buffer zones has now been passed in Northern Ireland, after a Supreme Court legal challenge, and in England.

40 Days for Life usually holds protests during Lent, with the first demonstration of its kind held outside of the QEUH in January 2016.

The largest anti-abortion gathering on record in the UK took place outside of the QEUH in 2018, where around 200 people from 40 Days targeted the Maternity Wing.

Campaigners Back Off Scotland said: "Forgive us for sounding like a broken record, but we're committed to ensuring people across Scotland never have to face intimidation, harassment or judgement when getting abortions.

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“This extends to anyone accessing healthcare, sexual health facilities, or even their workplace. It's abhorrent that a person's decision about their own body should be open to face-to-face opposition from people who do not know them and have no right weighing in on a medical decision that does not concern them.

"We're sick of being stuck where we are - we need movement from Scottish Government to prevent more people [being] made to face this kind of stuff for accessing healthcare.

"Scotland has paved the way in so many aspects of healthcare and social progress. Where's the action here?"

In response, Mackay (below) said: "These protests are an act of intimidation and harassment. They are absolutely wrong and they have no place in a modern and progressive Scotland.

The National: Humza Yousaf and Gillian Mackay

“The organisers know the impact that they are having on health workers and people accessing healthcare but have continued regardless.

"My Members Bill for safe access zones is making strong progress and I look forward to being able to give everyone a full update shortly. It has received a huge level of cross-party support and the backing of the Scottish Government. I am confident that our Parliament will pass it in the months ahead.

"Throughout the process, I have spoken to people who have shared really personal and harrowing stories. My heart and my solidarity is with everyone who has been targeted and who will be in the weeks ahead.

"I am determined that we end these protests for good and that nobody else has to walk through a gauntlet of campaigners and placards just to access the healthcare that they are entitled to.

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"We will end those protests for good and protect and expand reproductive rights in Scotland."

Buffer zones would introduce 150-metre zones outside of health facilities so women can access these services without fear and intimidation.

Not all health boards provide abortion services, so the legislation would only implement these no-go areas around clinics and hospitals which provide terminations.

Mackay’s member’s bill was supported by all Scottish party leaders in Holyrood before recess, except for Douglas Ross.