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A Glasgow doctor is hoping abortion clinic buffer zones will stop "bully" protesters from attacking women on "the worst day of their lives".
Dr Greg Irwin has welcomed Nicola Sturgeon’s commitment in stopping mobs showing up outside his work to harass patients at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.
It comes after the First Minister held a summit in Edinburgh on Tuesday in order to ensure women in Scotland can access services without fear, harassment, or intimidation.
She was joined by representatives from Police Scotland, the NHS, campaigners, from local government, and third sector organisations to discuss the need for buffer zones.
Now Dr Irwin, who is a pediatric radiologist, is hoping the introduction of these areas in future will save him from having to keep challenging crowds himself on his work breaks.
The 55-year-old medic has confronted groups on several occasions after being left "disgusted" by their presence outside the hospital.
He told the Glasgow Times: “People can protest whatever they like but not outside a hospital. It is overbearing and intimidating and very upsetting.
“The protesters have been irritating me for years. I have gone out on my work breaks with a ‘your body your choice sign’ and stood beside them so people know they aren’t the only ones here.
“It’s fundamentally unfair these people are bullying women and it is so misogynist.
“Some of these woman are having the worst day of their life. People having miscarriages, people trying to get pregnant but have got issues and can’t continue the pregancy, and these people are bullying and harrasing them.
"It is unjust.
“For me to drive past it makes me so disgusted, it is just so horrible.
“Recent events in America show how fragile women’s rights are.
“Women in Scotland have the right to access their healthcare without fear or intimidation from the bullying protestors outside my hospital and elsewhere.
“It was encouraging to see strong cross-party support for protest-free buffer zones in Scotland, but we need to see these words translated into real action.”
The First Minister has now said there was “no doubt” that the long-term solution is to introduce national legislation, though she said there was a need to get the balance right for such action to withstand “inevitable” challenges from European human rights legislation.
Sturgeon reported that Police Scotland were “very engaged” in the issue, but she noted that she could not instruct them to take action against protesters outside healthcare services.
One campaigner who joined the summit was Lucy Grieves, 25, who started Back Off Scotland with fellow students after seeing a group of anti abortion protesters near her university campus.
After being bombarded with messages from women who had experiences with harassment, they expanded the campaign and now have met with Sturgeon at the summit to press for progress.
Ms Grieves said: “The summit today has been a long time coming and I am really heartened by Nicola Sturgeon’s very strong pro-choice words.
“We had the chance to talk about a few patients' experiences about harassment and I think they really did listen.
“The stories are shocking and impact the victims for years after the termination.
“For me and our campaign the most positive thing that came out of today was them really throwing their weight behind the bull and pledging full support.
“We now don’t have to navigate that process alone and they want to meet again in six months so progress needs to be made.
“It is a big step forward but work still needs to be done.”