Scottish council rejects ban on pro-life events

Edinburgh City Council has rejected proposals to create ‘censorship zones’ outside abortion clinics.

The City of Edinburgh Council, NHS Lothian and Police Scotland considered creating a zone which would have prohibited “prayer, information and conversations” outside abortion clinics.

But a report from Edinburgh Council stated that there was ‘no evidence’ that pro-life supporters were causing “unnecessary distress”.

Not necessary

The report, which was presented to the Edinburgh South East Locality Committee, said it was not necessary to “enact any police measures”.

The report also added that at times pro-abortion gatherings can be “intimidating”, causing distress to women visiting the clinic.

Edinburgh mum Patricia Maclennan, who organises the peaceful pro-life gatherings in the city, said: “We have been offering support, love and compassion for more than eleven years and in that time, we have never been anything but peaceful and respectful in our behaviour.”

‘Common sense’

Michael Robinson, Communications Director for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) in Scotland, said: “This is a significant victory for common sense, for free speech and above all for the many vulnerable women who choose to have their babies with assistance from pro-life vigils.”

Last year, following Ealing Council’s ban on pro-life supporters outside a Marie Stopes abortion clinic, the Government announced that nationwide ‘buffer zones’ will not be introduced.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said it would “not be a proportionate response”.


In March, a London council unanimously approved a Public Spaces Protection Order outside a BPAS abortion centre in Twickenham.

The ban prohibits ‘any form of interaction’ relating to abortion with those attending the clinic.

At the time, SPUC described the decision as the “latest example of official intolerance towards pro-lifers”.

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