READING Jody Harrison's recent article ("Abortion clinic buffer zones will 'end ‘intimidation and harassment’", heraldscotland, February 14), you would think that our country was in the grip of a horrendous wave of violent protests and civil disorder.

That is the convenient narrative being written by those in favour of the establishment of blanket buffer zones around abortion centres in Scotland.

Yet the reality is somewhat different. These so-called "protests" are not protests at all. They are peaceful vigils, consisting mostly of women, standing quietly praying at a reasonable distance from the main entrance to hospitals and clinics.

Police Scotland has not at any point called for more powers to deal with vigils outside of abortion centres in Scotland. In its submission to the Parliament’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee, Scotland’s police force stated that “existing powers and offences (whether statutory or at common law) are sufficient to address any unlawful behaviour in the vicinity of health care premises”.

Presumably, Police Scotland is referring to legislation such as section 38 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010, which already makes it illegal to engage in behaviour which causes harassment, alarm, or distress to others.

This law may be being brought forward with the best of intentions, but it is unnecessary.

Anthony Horan, Director, Catholic Parliamentary Office, Airdrie.

• THE buffer zones that Gillian Mackay MSP so eagerly wishes to impose in Scotland are in essence anti-choice as they will prevent women from having an alternative choice to ending the life of their child.

Introducing buffer zones will deprive women of vital help. The reasons why women consider abortion are many and complex, yet many women report feeling ambivalent at the time of their abortion. It could be a partner or family member is pressurising them into a decision; or they feel as though they need to choose between their child and their studies; or their financial situation makes them feel as though they have no other option.

Instead of truly meeting the material and emotional needs of these women, abortion is presented as the only sensible solution. Many women report feeling as though they had "no choice" but to have an abortion. Pro-life vigils present an alternative in a peaceful and loving way. Many children are alive today because their mother met a loving pro-life person directly outside an abortion facility, where desperate women most need help. Unfortunately, Ms Mackay's Abortion Services Safe Access Zones (Scotland) Bill will deny women real choice and much-needed help while at the same time criminalising lawful, peaceful pro-life witness.

Martin Conroy, Cockburnspath.

The Herald: Gillian Mackay MSPGillian Mackay MSP (Image: PA)

The revolution will happen

BILL Stirling (Letters, February 14) can rest assured that there are unlikely to be any engineers wasting their time designing massive diggers and bulldozers with massive batteries. Why should they when we already have hydrogen-powered machines available at present which are much more suited to this type of work?

Electricity is unlikely to be the solution for heavy machinery or vehicles, especially when there is likely to be excess electricity available from wind farms to produce hydrogen.

We already have hydrogen-powered buses operating in Aberdeen. Just one hydrogen bus will save 84 tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent of removing 38 petrol or 40 diesel cars from the road.

Presenting ill-informed excuses to make no progress is counterproductive whether it is in transport or heating and while Mr Stirling is correct to state that massive improvements are required to the National Grid, the higher demand for electricity will not happen tomorrow. It will take time to replace our carbon-intensive way of living but it will happen,and engineers recognise the problems and they will account for them as required.

Iain McIntyre, Sauchie.

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NHS waste is shameful

I HAVE nothing but respect and gratitude for the people who work in the frontline services of the NHS and the care and devotion that they gave my partner at the end of his life. I am however incensed and sickened at the waste of money and resources.

After his death I took a well-looked-after, perfectly-working electric nebuliser valued at over £100 back to the hospital department which had issued it to him in order that some one else could benefit from its use. Imagine my reaction when I was told that it would be put in the bin.

Why? The NHS is crying out for more resources and finance yet perfectly good equipment is being scrapped. Have they not heard that the way forward is through recycling? Perhaps someone could advise me on the rationale behind this practice.

Barbara Jarvie, Milton of Campsie.

Could booze boost the brain?

FURTHER to Robin Dow and John Jamieson's letters (February 12 & 14) about the benefits of red wine (but not white wine), numerous scientific studies back up what they say. For example, a 2021 study by Gambini et al concluded that "cardiovascular beneficial effects were observed in humans after ingesting 400ml of wine daily for four weeks" and "moderate red wine consumption extends life expectancy". Yet here we have the SNP executive increasing its price again from April.

I wonder if there is another benefit to be accrued from alcohol consumption in mental acuity? Churchill, whose alcohol intake was prodigious, was an excellent decision maker with his "action this day" orders and expecting reports and plans on no more than a single sheet of foolscap. This is in stark contrast to our teetotal first minister and would seem to back that up that theory.

William Loneskie, Lauder.

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Does drivel divide us?

I HAVE noticed over the years that I rarely agree with your correspondent Allan Sutherland, we are on opposite sides of the main debates, especially independence, and the sad death of Steve Wright has exposed another difference (Letters, February 15).

As an 18-year-old, travelling regularly from Scotland to college in the south of England more than 50 years ago, I was always accompanied by my tranny tuned to Radio 4. A few minutes listening to the output of Radio 1 and 2 would be enough to put me off listening to the BBC forever, even as a lover of the great pop music of my youth.

It has always amazed me that people I know to be intelligent could bear to listen to the drivel described by Mr Sutherland; is this yet another schism dividing the Great British Public?

John Jamieson, Ayr.