The Catholic Church has attacked Glasgow City Council for "restricting freedom and local democracy" as it considers banning pro-life vigils outside clinics and hospitals.

Anthony Horan, director of the Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office, said the proposals for 'buffer zones' were an attempt to silence the voices of those who speak up for unborn children.

He told the Scottish Catholic Observer (SCO) opponents of abortion were entitled to gather peacefully and one such group, 40 Days for Life which organises vigils during Lent outside hospitals in Glasgow and Dundee, had been "blatantly and grossly misrepresented by the council”.

On June 29th, the council backed a motion designed to explore the legal options to enable buffer zones to move prayer vigils and pro-life protesters away from entrances so patients can enter and leave premises without feeling intimidated. The move gained cross-party support and the council is now to consult NHS staff, police and the Scottish Government about the idea.

Mr Horan said: “We should be deeply troubled by this latest proposal which seeks to remove and silence those who speak up for women and their unborn babies.

“It is also extremely concerning that the 40 Days for Life Glasgow group was so blatantly and grossly misrepresented by the council.”

He added: "Individual groups who bear witness to the devastating effects of abortion are entitled to gather peacefully in public spaces."

A spokeswoman for Society for Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) Scotland, told the SCO: “It is appalling that Glasgow City Council would support such an infringement on people’s freedom of speech.

“Throughout the council’s discussion, councillors regularly mischaracterised the nature of these vigils. There have been no convictions for harassment at these vigils; there is no evidence to support the assertions these councillors made—they are simply untrue."