CAMPAIGNERS for buffer zones to stop anti-abortion groups from intimidating women outside hospitals have called for a Scottish Government minister to resign, after more than 100 protesters staged a demonstration outside Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Sunday was the culmination of the 40 Days of Life campaign, which sees Christian organisations campaign for an end to abortion “through prayer and fasting, community outreach, and a peaceful all-day vigil in front of abortion businesses.” 

Protests were held in Edinburgh and Aberdeen as well, but it was the scale of the Glasgow turnout that shocked campaigners. 

In their 2021 manifesto and subsequent Women's Health Strategy, the SNP promised to introduce buffer zones that would prevent anti-abortion campaigners from gathering outside hospitals. 

However, in November last year, the Scottish Government said it would be for councils to pass by-laws to protect specific sites, rather than have a nationwide system. 

READ MORE: SNP ministers accused of 'disgraceful abdication of responsibility' over abortion clinic buffer zones

Maree Todd, the public health minister has promised to look at a Members Bill being tabled by Scottish Green MSP Gillian Mackay. 

The Central Scotland MSP wants 150m protest-free areas around all clinics that provided abortion services across Scotland, not a “postcode lottery” based on bylaws.

Campaigners say the government simply isn’t moving fast enough and needs to act now.

Yesterday, Back Off Scotland, who have long called for buffer zones, tweeted: “Currently over 100 anti-abortion protesters outside the maternity ward QEUH in Glasgow. 

“The women’s health minister @MareeToddMSP needs to resign - this is happening unchallenged on her watch.”

On Monday morning, Labour’s Monica Lennon tweeted: “100+ protesters at the QEUH, deliberately making access to abortion and reproductive healthcare difficult. It’s why 150m buffer zones are needed.”

The MSP called on the First Minister to “Stop doing nothing.”

Responding, a Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government believes all women in Scotland should be able to access timely abortion care without judgment, within the limits of the law, should they require it.

“We have convened a working group with partners such as COSLA, Police Scotland and affected Councils and Health Boards to seek to find an appropriate way forward as soon as possible in relation to protests or vigils outside abortion clinics.  

“The working group is continuing to explore ways to ensure that women can access abortion services without feeling harassed or intimidated.”

“We are looking forward to MSP Gillian Mackay bringing forward her member’s bill on buffer zones.”