THE first Saturday of October was cold, windy, and rain threatened: but even so, a group of people assembled at Middle Meadow Walk in Edinburgh to defend abortion against the legislators in Texas who have made safe legal abortion a sport for bounty hunters.

It's a fact too little acknowledged that until the 1967 Abortion Act became law in Scotland, abortion was not covered by Scots legislation: it was regulated by doctors' decisions on providing healthcare to patients.

The 1861 Offences Against the Person Act, which made abortion a criminal offence in England, Wales, and (then) Ireland, didn't have legal effect in Scotland. In Scotland, if you wanted an unwanted or unsafe pregnancy terminated, your difficulty was only finding a doctor willing to perform the abortion.

READ MORE: WATCH: White House staffer expertly shuts down reporter over abortion remarks

Doctor Dugald Baird, who had a long history of championing abortion in Scotland at the time of the 1967 Act, wanted it extended for Scotland to provide doctors with a firm legal ground from which they could decide if they were going to provide an abortion if requested. Equally, the 1967 Act's effect in Scotland for anyone pregnant who needed an abortion was to give her the grounds to request one.

Abortion is essential reproductive healthcare, and recognised as a basic human right. The 1998 Scotland Act devolved all other healthcare to Scotland but reserved abortion legislation to Westminster: abortion was not devolved to Holyrood until 2016.

From polling carried out in 2015, the majority in Scotland - across all ages, gender, religion, or party affiliation - support the individual's right to choose abortion: while anti-choice campaigners try to make access to safe legal abortion appear controversial, in Scotland it is not, no more than LGBT equality is now controversial.

Why then assemble in Edinburgh to support women in Texas, half a world away from us, who have been since September 1 living in a state where they have no access to safe legal abortion?

What is happening in Texas is a symptom of a recent resurgence in far-right campaigning, which always seeks to present a faux-enemy for their supporters to attack: for the political right in the US, once segregation ceased to be useful, access to abortion has been a regular target since the early 1980s, as gay marriage was in the 1990s and 2000s, as trans people are today. There is a long bad tradition on the right of a "moral" condemnation of a woman's right to decide how many children to have and when.

The US constitutional right of a patient to a private medical consultation with her doctor, and her right therefore to access abortion, was determined in 1973 by the Supreme Court in Roe vs Wade.

READ MORE: Suzanne McLaughlin: Religious zealots only show why abortion should be legal

The new legislation doesn't technically overturn Roe vs Wade: it allows anyone in the US to sue anyone in Texas who helps procure an abortion - clinic staff, a provider of advice, a driver who gives a woman a lift to the clinic. The bounty hunter gets $10,000 for a successful suit, and the target has to pay the costs of the case.

A woman can still legally have a private consultation with her doctor and ask for an abortion - but if this doctor agrees to provide one, and this is publicly known, the doctor can immediately become the target of bounty hunters who can each sue the doctor for ten grand.

This kind of law enables even a small minority who oppose abortion to shut down access to abortion for everyone who needs it. The far-right strategy is not to win majority support, but to empower their minority of supporters. It must be stopped.

The National: Frederick Douglass photograph and letter

We have had a long tradition in Scotland of standing up for human rights in America that goes back to at least 1841, when Scottish feminist Eliza Wigham and American ex-slave Frederick Douglass (above) together carved an anti-slavery message in the turf of Arthur's Seat.

On Saturday October 2, over 120,000 people took part in over 600 rallies and marches, in the US and around the world, against this specific attack on reproductive healthcare by the Texas legislature and for the principle that abortion is healthcare and abortion rights are human rights.