Many constituents have contacted Kaukab about the disturbing reports of noisy and intimidating anti-abortion protestors targeting the Sandyford Clinic in Glasgow Kelvin earlier this week. Kaukab believes the protestors’ actions to be wholly inappropriate and unacceptable. People exercising their autonomous right to healthcare services should not face protests and intimidation as they do so.

Kaukab submitted the following question for the First Minister on Thursday 12 May: 

‘The First Minister will be aware of the shocking scenes outside the Sandyford Clinic in my constituency of Glasgow Kelvin. I have been inundated with emails from concerned residents and those seeking medical attention. These demonstrations benefit nobody and are compounding an already distressing situation for service users. One such email was sent to me at 4.30 am from a distressed woman who clearly was unable to sleep due to the distress this has caused. Will she join me in condemning these intimidating and wholly inappropriate demonstrations?’

Although her question was not selected by the Presiding Officer for answer, the issue was fully addressed and the First Minister provided the following statement:

‘Women have the right to access abortion without fear or intimidation, and to anyone wanting to protest, they should do it outside of parliament. Protesting outside hospitals or sexual health clinics targets women, not lawmakers, and it causes stress and anxiety to those accessing healthcare.

I strongly support the introduction of buffer zones, and the Government is actively considering how this Parliament can legislate in a way that is effective and capable of withstanding legal challenge…

Finally, I am very happy to convene—indeed, I will personally chair—a round-table summit to discuss buffer zones and any other matters that need to be addressed to ensure safe and timely access to abortion services in Scotland within the current law.’

Kaukab strongly supports the introduction of buffer zones to ensure that women and other members of the public are not subjected to intimidation when accessing healthcare services, and welcomes the Scottish Government active consideration on how to legislate in a way that is effective and also capable of withstanding legal challenge.

Kaukab also warmly welcomes the First Minister’s commitment to convene and chair a round-table summit to discuss buffer zones and other matters.

We will monitor progress on this very important and urgent issue and keep you updated.