'It sounds like Gilead from The Handmaid’s Tale' - readers' comments on protests outside sexual health clinics

Campaigners are warning that vulnerable women seeking abortions fear harassment after the Scottish Government refused to implement protest-free areas around abortion clinics. A pro-life group is holding “prayer vigils” outside Edinburgh’s Chalmers Sexual Health clinic – and others across the country – until the end of October.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 7:00 am
Pro-life campaigners are holding prayer vigils at the Chalmers Street clinic

Patricia Anderson: These people can protest if they like but not at the front door of a clinic where patients are arriving. Having an abortion is legal in this country.

Linda Mitchell: The Chalmers Clinic covers so many different areas, from menopause to young people, sexual health, vasectomy, colposcopy, IUD fittings… These protests impact on all the people attending all these other clinics, and causes high levels of anxiety.

Pauline Campbell: So you’ll get lots of young vulnerable people going to a place they think is safe and private where they can get help, for whatever reason, including the unthinkable, to be confronted by this. Disgusting.

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Elisandra Coyne: It sounds like Gilead from The Handmaid’s Tale. Who’s rights are they fighting for? Their own? They already have the right to choose to be neo-puritans, so they should not intervene in other people’s right to choose. There are also many people that are there for medical reasons. How would they feel if people if people held a vigil in front of their meeting places for the freedom of choice and woman’s rights?

David Carrol: The protesters would claim they are "fighting for the rights of the one person who can't fight for their own rights that of the unborn child." Rightly or wrongly that is their side.

Jackie Hamilton: Every woman has a right to choose whether they want to go through with a pregnancy or not – after all it's their body. Perhaps these protesters should be praying to God to stop climate change or global hunger and not trying to harass women,

Henry Campbell Gillan: These people are just not getting why folk fought against great opposition from religious fundamentalists, and others, for terminations to be allowed in our country. The alternative was dire to say the least, with women and girls suffering, and dying, at the hands of backstreet abortionists.

Ian MacLachlan: Also having their children and then having them taken from them and then being subject to physical and mental abuse by the “religious fundamentalists”.

Jane Lowrie: If you are about to have an abortion the last thing you need is having to walk past a bunch protesters who may or may not be praying. It's a personal choice which is legal in this country. No-one knows their reason for having the termination.

Alia Gilbert: Making abortions illegal won’t stop people getting them, it will just make it far more dangerous. People have many reasons for wanting a termination and it’s not an easy decision to make. Do what you want with your own body and leave others to it with theirs

Eileen McBride: It's not protesting, it's praying. If anyone is harassed by the people praying I will eat my hat.

John Glancy: It is a strategically positioned gathering of people with the primary intention of communicating a message (however passively) in order to lobby for social or legislative change therefore it’s an act of protest. There are multiple better locations for outdoor worship if that was the motivation.

Judi O’Rourke: Pray at home then. If it’s only praying God will still hear you surely! What they are actually doing is intimidation under the guise of being Christian.

Poppy Collinson: Buffer zones as they have in other countries have been really successful. Protest is fine but women having to walk through protests in order to access legal medical care is unacceptable.

Keith Geddes: It seems we are heading in the same direction as the United States. What next, targeting doctors’ homes?

Lettiebomb Quinlan: Another bunch of nothing-better-to-do losers trying to tell women what to do their own bodies. Incidently there is not a single law in this country that tell men what to do with their bodies.

Donald J Makin: If this was a traveller camp they would be evicted within hours. If they were Extinction Rebellion there would be an injunction by now.

Jeannie Bridges: I wonder how many of these protesters have been pregnant?