Why buffer zones are needed
The article begins by describing the author’s personal reaction to seeing anti-choice protesters outside Scottish hospitals. The author, a Scottish Green MSP, expresses horror and revulsion at the protesters’ graphic banners, judgmental attitude, and aggressive tactics. The author empathizes with the people who have to endure the protesters’ harassment and intimidation, and questions how such a situation can exist in the 21st century.
How buffer zones work
The article then explains the concept of buffer zones, which are pre-designated areas surrounding a site where protests are prohibited. The author argues that buffer zones are the best solution to protect people’s rights and dignity, and that they should be implemented by the Parliament, not by councils. The author cites the example of Northern Ireland, where a similar bill was passed in 2021 and came into effect in 2021 after a Supreme Court challenge.
Who supports buffer zones
The article also highlights the cross-party support for the author’s bill, which has been lodged with Parliament. The author thanks campaign groups, people who shared their stories, and MSPs from all parties for their contributions and backing. The author also mentions the support of the First Minister, the Health Secretary, and the public health ministers, who have assured the author of the Scottish Government’s backing.
What challenges buffer zones face
The article acknowledges that there will be opposition and obstacles to the bill, such as legal challenges, misinformation, and abuse. The author states that they have taken the time to consult widely and ensure that the bill is as watertight as possible. The author also refers to the launch of more 40 Days for Life protests across Scotland this month, which underline the urgent need to end such scenes.
When buffer zones will be implemented
The article ends by expressing the author’s anger and determination to make buffer zones a reality. The author recalls their initial motivation as a newly elected MSP to take action on this issue, and says that they have turned a corner and taken a huge stride in finally ending the protesters’ harassment for good.