Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

‘Maybe it’s because the Lord Provost is a man…’ Councillor dismayed as plea for urgent talks on Aberdeen abortion buffer zone is rejected

Councillor Deena Tissera outside Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. Picture by Kami Thomson / DC Thomson
Councillor Deena Tissera outside Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. Picture by Kami Thomson / DC Thomson

Aberdeen’s Lord Provost has come under fire for refusing to hear an emergency plea to protect women from “fear and intimidation”.

Opposition councillor Deena Tissera says the city must attempt to create buffer zones at the maternity hospital to keep anti-abortion protestors at bay.

With women’s rights coming under increasing threat globally, the newly-elected Labour member sought to raise an emergency motion at Wednesday’s Aberdeen City Council meeting.

Deena Tissera is demanding urgent action. Picture by Kami Thomson / DC Thomson

Ms Tissera’s attempt to intervene came after Nicola Sturgeon backed the idea of 150m trial buffer zones in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

But her urgent motion, signed by 19 councillors, to discuss the prospect of a byelaw was blocked repeatedly by the authority’s SNP Lord Provost David Cameron.

What happened at council meeting?

Ms Tissera twice handed the motion to officers, who she says went to consult with Mr Cameron before returning to tell her it would not be heard.

The Lord Provost insists this was because it was handed in too late, arguing that he had refused other late motions and thought it was only fair to reject this one too.

There are worries that women visiting Aberdeen Maternity Hospital could be harrassed. 

Fears over lobbying outside Aberdeen hospital

But the health spokeswoman for the Labour group has been left “disappointed” by the move.

It comes amid fears the American Supreme Court overturning abortion rights could embolden certain campaigners.

She said: “It could now allow for extremists to lobby outside Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, resulting in women being harassed and intimidated.

“And this byelaw is required following an American anti-choice group holding a prayer vigil within the vicinity of the hospital.

“Unfortunately, the Lord Provost did not deem it an emergency.

“Maybe it is because he is a man that he does not understand how urgent it is that the council provides protection to women seeking advice regarding an abortion.”

David Cameron was named the new Lord Provost last month. Picture by Kath Flannery.

Deena Tissera blames male-dominated council for blocking buffer zones debate

Ms Tissera added: “The first minister is encouraging local authorities to bring forward byelaws as a short-term measure to protect women.

“This matter should have been dealt with.

“However, when you have three male members leading the administration at Aberdeen City Council, important women’s issues are often forgotten about.”

The Hilton, Woodside and Stockethill councillor hopes her motion “will soon be heard and hopefully agreed by all councillors who value women and women’s rights”.

Deena Tissera’s motion on buffer zones

The motion asks councillors:

  • To agree that the Supreme Court decision “is a step backwards for human rights”.
  • Agree that “limiting access to abortions won’t reduce the number of abortions happening, it will just make abortions less safe”.
  • To note that anti-abortion group 40 Days for Life held a “prayer vigil” at ARI this year.
  • To liaise with the Scottish Government to “bring forward a byelaw to introduce buffer zones as a short-term measure” for any women using clinics that provide abortion services until the Scottish Government legislate on the matter.
  • She asked for a report to be brought back to the next council meeting.
Aberdeen City Council: Deena Tissera celebrates her election as Hilton, Woodside and Stockethill councillor at P&J Live. Picture by Scott Baxter/DCT Media.
Deena Tissera when she was elected at P&J Live. Picture by Scott Baxter/DCT Media.

Lord Provost defends decision

Mr Cameron countered: “It was handed in literally minutes before the start of full council.

“I had refused to accept late notices from the Labour group earlier, and thought it was only proper to go by the same rules.

“It’s always debatable whether something is an emergency or not.”

Motion to be heard within fortnight

The Lord Provost added: “A special full council meeting will be set in the next 14 days to hear it.

“I’m trying to find a date to get as many people there as possible.

“I find it quite unacceptable to suggest that I don’t care about women.”

And the deputy leader of the SNP group, Miranda Radley, insists she and her colleagues are committed to pushing for buffer zones.


Do you believe buffer zones should be created in Aberdeen? Let us know why in our comments section below!


She said: “This was a pledge from the SNP manifesto and we’ve already had extensive discussions on this matter.

“Unfortunately, councils do not currently have the power to implement buffer zones.

“I hope that the situation will change shortly.

“We will happily work with anyone and everyone to make that happen.”

Abortion buffer zones: Everything you need to know about proposed law in Scotland

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]

Conversation

[[title_reg]]

Please enter the name you would like to appear on your comments. (It doesn’t have to be your real name - but nothing rude please, we are a polite bunch!) Use a combination of eight or more characters that includes an upper and lower case character, and a number.

By registering with [[site_name]] you agree to our Terms and Conditions and our Privacy Policy

Or sign up with

Facebook Google

[[content_reg_complete]]

[[title_login]]

Or login with

Forgotten your password? Reset it

[[title]]