Edinburgh City Council has become the first in Scotland to reject proposals to create so-called “censorship zones” outside abortion clinics which would have banned peaceful pro-life prayer vigils.
A joint working party involving The City of Edinburgh Council, NHS Lothian and Police Scotland had considered creating a zone which would have prohibited prayer, information and conversations taking place in proscribed areas around local abortion clinics.
But a recent report has stated that there was “no overwhelming evidence” the prayer vigils outside clinics were causing “unnecessary distress”.
The report on peaceful pro-life vigils, which was presented to the Edinburgh South East Locality Committee, added it “did not feel the necessity to enact any police measures”.
Michael Robinson, Communications Director for SPUC (Scotland) who said: “We know from official figures that poor women in Scotland have abortion rates twice as high as those who are well off. Peaceful pro-life vigils offer practical, emotional and financial support to vulnerable women who might otherwise be forced into an abortion they do not want. This is a significant victory for common sense, for free speech and above all for the many vulnerable women who choose to have their babies with assistance from pro-life vigils.”
And Edinburgh mum Patricia Maclennan, who organises peaceful vigils in the city, added: “We are so grateful to the council and the NHS for respecting our right to freely pray. We have been offering support, love and compassion for more than eleven years and in that time, we have never been anything put peaceful and respectful in our behaviour.”