Nicola Sturgeon has come out again in support of buffer zones around abortion clinics at a summit in Edinburgh this week.
The abortion summit was organised by the Scottish government and attended by representatives of local government, third sector organisations, Police Scotland, the NHS and pro-abortion and buffer zone campaigners.
The Scottish First Minister said that establishing buffer zones was necessary so that women could access abortions at clinics “free of harassment and intimidation”, The Independent reports.
She said that pro-life vigils outside Scottish abortion clinics were “unacceptable” and had to be addressed “as a matter of urgency”.
She said: “Gatherings of this kind create additional stress for anyone using these facilities, for any purpose, and for those who work in them. But for women accessing abortion services the upset, distress and fear that they cause can be profound.
“At what is already a very stressful time, women are being forced to see or make their way past these groups on the way in. And once they’re inside, on top of everything else, there’s the knowledge that they may have to see them again on the way out.
“In my view, the current situation is unacceptable, and it’s one which we must address as a matter of urgency. I am determined that we do so.
“There are issues that we need to solve to establish buffer zones through legislation but if we work together in a spirit of solidarity, I am confident we can find a way.”
The summit was held just days after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, ending half a century of a legal right to abortion.
Ms Sturgeon called the decision “one of the darkest days for women’s rights in my lifetime”.
Pro-life groups have insisted that their vigils are peaceful and one of the last opportunities for women facing a crisis pregnancy to find information and support about alternatives to abortion.
Campaign group Compassion Scotland has said that the introduction of buffer zones “would diminish support available to women and unfairly restrict free expression”.