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Pro-choice protest to be held in Aberdeen amid calls for introduction of abortion buffer zones

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

A pro-choice protest will be held in Aberdeen next week to show solidarity with women in the US and demand “a safe space” outside abortion clinics.

Dozens of demonstrators are expected to gather at Castlegate on July 9 to reiterate urgent calls for abortion buffer zones in Aberdeen and across Scotland.

It comes just days after Aberdeen’s Lord Provost refused a motion, signed by 19 councillors, to introduce the zones and keep anti-abortion protestors at bay.

Last week American Supreme Court judges also overturned Roe v Wade, which had guaranteed the right to an abortion in the US for almost 50 years.

This has prompted fears the UK could soon follow suit, with protestors raising their concerns about the lack of action to protect women who want to have a safe abortion.

Abortion rights advocates picket outside of The University Club where The Federalist Society was hosting an event. The organisation has supported the overturn of Roe v. Wade. Photo by Gina M Randazzo/ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock (13012056af)
Abortion rights advocates picket outside of The University Club where The Federalist Society, which supported the overturn of Roe v. Wade, was hosting an event. Photo by Gina M Randazzo/ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock.

Protest organiser Jaime McPherson said: “It’s more of a worry that this is going to come to the UK now, and I realise that there is no one really fighting the corner in Scotland.

“Aberdeen especially seems a bit left out and we need to make sure that people know that we are here.

“I personally feel that my freedom to my own body and my own choices shouldn’t be decided by anyone else – especially not by someone without the potential to carry a child.”

‘Our bodies, our choice’

Under current laws, anti-choice demonstrators can still protest outside clinics if they remain peaceful.

However, the new buffer zones – if introduced – would create a designated space outside hospitals and clinics where they are no longer allowed to hold rallies.

Zones would potentially cover an area of around 150m, ensuring anti-abortion campaigners would be a significant distance away from those accessing healthcare.

Labour councillor Deena Tissera will be the key speaker at the protest after lodging a motion with the council for the introduction of buffer zones in Aberdeen. Picture by Kami Thomson / DC Thomson.

While First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently backed the idea for Edinburgh and Glasgow, Ms McPherson said this is still a big issue in Aberdeen, where there seems to be a prevalence of pro-life.

She added: “Not having these buffer zones is a massive issue and we have seen a large increase in anti-abortion protests in Aberdeen. This kind of intimidation and harassment can stop people who are going for abortions having safe ones.

“And if people cannot get access to safe abortion without being intimidated or harassed by others, it’s a total spiral – they are risking their lives and their mental health.

“It’s depriving them from a safe space, to which they are entitled to as it stands.”

The demonstration will begin at 11am.

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