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Respond to the consultation on the Scotland buffer zone Bill


This consultation has now closed.

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Green Party MSP, Gillian Mackay, has launched a Bill to introduce buffer zones around every facility that performs abortions in Scotland.

The Scottish Health, Social Care and Sport Committee is currently running a consultation on the Abortion Services (Safe Access Zones) (Scotland) Bill and is seeking submissions from the public.

If the Bill becomes law, it will introduce the world’s most extreme buffer zone law to Scotland.

The Bill would create a minimum of 200m ‘safe access’ or buffer zones around any facility that performs abortions, where offering support to women could be criminalised. The 200m is a minimum as abortion providers can apply for the zone to be extended and the Bill gives the Scottish Government the power to extend any buffer zone beyond 200m if they judge that the existing zone “does not adequately protect” women seeking an abortion. There is no limit on the size of the buffer zone that can be created under this power.

The buffer zones introduced by this law extend further than any other buffer zones in the world. For example, the Public Order Act 2023 in England and Wales sets the limits of the buffer zones at 150m and the legislation does not give the Government the power to extend buffer zones beyond 150m.

Anyone who commits an offence can be fined up to £10,000 on a summary conviction, or an unlimited fine on indictment.

Polling from Savanta ComRes shows that only 30% of the population in Scotland support the introduction of nationwide buffer zones around abortion clinics.

The poll assessed support for buffer zones of 150m, as will be introduced in England and Wales, so it is likely that support would be even lower for the Mackay buffer zone law given the proposed law in Scotland would introduce a more extreme 200m buffer zone.

We have created an easy-to-use tool below that will help you to respond to this consultation. If you use this tool to respond, your response will then automatically be submitted through the consultation website. The deadline for submitting to the consultation is 23:59 on Wednesday 20 December 2023.

We have provided the tool to enable the public to make a submission in a way that is easy to complete and helps with making the consultation process accessible to more people. Alternatively, if you would like to make a submission using the Scottish Government’s Abortion Services (Safe Access Zones) Bill Consultation website, you can do so here

We have designed the tool below for individuals to submit. If you are an organisation, please see the consultation page for details on how to make a submission.

You can find out more about the consultation and how your personal data will be handled by the Scottish Government on the consultation website here.