Scot Govt to push nationwide abortion censorship zones ‘as soon as possible’

Plans to impose nationwide censorship zones around abortion clinics in Scotland will be pushed forward “as soon as possible”, an SNP Minister has announced.

Maree Todd, the Minister for Women’s Health, said she will discuss accelerating Green MSP Gillian Mackay’s proposed Abortion Services Safe Access Zones Bill, following a recent UK Supreme Court ruling for Northern Ireland.

The Court rejected evidence that legislation to ban peaceful protest and prayer outside abortion clinics in the Province would disproportionately interfere with the right to protest. The ruling will allow it to become law once it receives Royal Assent.


The Scottish Government previously backed the principles of Mackay’s plans while awaiting the Court’s decision for Northern Ireland.

Mackay has now stated that she is working “as quickly as humanly possible” to push forward her proposals, but acknowledged that a legal challenge to her plans in Scotland was likely.

The Christian Institute’s Northern Ireland Officer Callum Webster, commenting on the recent UK Supreme Court ruling, said: “Imposing buffer zones silences those who peacefully offer women compassionate alternatives to abortion.

“This is a draconian approach by the State. It denies women the opportunity to consider other responses to a crisis pregnancy that are less harmful to themselves and their baby.”


In October, MPs backed the introduction of similar zones around abortion clinics in England and Wales.

An amendment to the Government’s Public Order Bill to outlaw prayer  and the offering of advice to women outside of abortion clinics was accepted by 297 votes to 110. Under the proposals, anyone found guilty of breaching the rules could face six months in prison.

Some councils have already introduced censorship zones, where reciting Scripture and silently praying within a 150m radius of an abortion clinic have been prohibited.

The nationwide proposals could also include private residences and even churches close to a clinic, meaning pro-life posters or adverts could not be displayed if they can be seen from the street.

Also see:

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