Woman's shock at ‘brazen assault’ after pro-lifer hits campaigner with car outside city's Chalmers clinic
A campaigner has been left stunned after she witnessed a pro-life supporter hit her friend with a car outside a sexual health clinic.
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The woman has spoken of her shock at witnessing what she described as a ‘brazen assault in broad daylight’ which saw the driver hit a fellow campaigner, with whom she had attended the city’s Chalmers clinic.
A group of three pro-choice campaigners attended the clinic on Friday, October 8, to support patients’ right to access abortion services and counter an anti-abortion group which had been campaigning outside the clinic.
Speaking to the Evening News, the woman said her fellow campaigner – a 61-year-old – was left traumatised after the driver allegedly hit her legs with the car and drove off towards the Meadows after asking them ‘do you want to see tomorrow?’.
The woman, who asked n ot to be named for fear of retaliation, said: “This person who parked up across the street asked us why we were there and called us “scumbags” and said that we supported “murder”.
"They were verbally abusive so we took a photo of the car’s registration. They asked “do you want to see tomorrow” and drove down the street towards the Meadows to turn. My friend started to cross the road to get a look at the car.
"They drove at her while the car was mid-lane and the bumper of the car hit her lower limbs and knee. She staggered back and leaned over the engine. Finally the driver stopped and drove off.
"In light of this attack, we no longer feel safe enough to attend the counter protests alone due to the fear of intimidation. My friend was too scared to report this to the police.”
The claims come after SNP MSP John Mason faced fierce criticism for admitting that he attended a controversial anti-abortion protest outside a hospital and said abortion services are not “essential” or “vital”.
Campaign group Back Off Scotland which is campaigning for 150-metre “buffer zones” where protests are not allowed, said the incident proved the need for improved protection for women accessing services.
Lucy Grieve, Back Off Scotland director, said: “This incident is one of many that highlight the pressing need for buffer zones. It’s frustrating that this has happened given that Edinburgh council passed a motion in support of enacting buffer zones.
"It’s up to the Scottish Government to recognise this national issue and enact buffer zones outside abortion clinics.”
The council has also encouraged anyone experiencing intimidation or threats to contact the police.
Adam McVey, council leader, said: “Nobody should have to experience intimidation when accessing medical care and we are working with colleagues across Local Government through COSLA on a consistent approach nationally with the Scottish Government.
"We will continue to work closely with partners until a clear route forward to protect women accessing health services is secured. We would encourage anyone who attends these facilities and who experiences intimidation or threatening behaviour from the protesters to report these to Police Scotland.”