Social Issues

Scotland fights to end abortion ‘harassment’

Edinburgh, UK, May 28 (EFE).- Protesters took to the streets of Edinburgh on Saturday to demand a stop to rallies in front of abortion clinics, considered a form of harassment and intimidation.

“They want to control women,” a protester and lecturer at Edinburgh University, Betinna Nissen, told Efe.

Scotland is considering introducing a new law that prohibits anti-abortion protests in front of clinics which could make an already difficult choice an every harder one for women getting an abortion.

“We say it is intimidation and harassment, (…) and access to these services is made more difficult by these protests outside,” lawmaker and promoter of the bill, Gillian Mackay, said.

The legislation, which is yet to be approved, would set up a minimum of 150 meters zones around abortion clinics “to make sure the people have the ability to access healthcare free from intimidation and harassment,” Mackay said.

Meanwhile, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children’s spokesperson Grace Browne, said the protests are peaceful community-based vigils that “seek to offer support to vulnerable women”.

The anti-abortion NGO aims to make abortion illegal and achieve “a cultural shift (…) where women do not need to abort,” Browne said.

“The protesters claim to be peaceful, (…) but they are actually being quite intimidating, women feel harassed, women feel quite traumatised by the posters and the messaging and they want it to stop,” member of the Scottish Labour Party, Monica Lennon, said.

The phenomenon is not a new one, according to Dr. Greg Irwin from the Maternity Unit of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

“It was the first day of lent five years ago, I was just driving to the hospital and there were 8 protesters outside my hospital,” he told Efe.

“They stayed for 12 hours a day for 40 days of lent, it was really infuriating, (…) we spent all out time doing out best for our patients, for a group group to be outside actively upsetting our patients, making them feel bad on what might be the worst day of their life,” the doctor said.

“No women does this lightly, (…) the protesters know that and they are trying to catch these at their most vulnerable.”EFE


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