Abortion Service Safe Access Zones (Scotland) Bill
Note on language
The Scottish Government recognises that abortion is an emotive issue, and that the language surrounding it is itself a source of debate and a matter of considerable sensitivity. We have therefore taken this opportunity to highlight some particular choices adopted during this document, and to acknowledge that, in some instances, different groups would prefer to use other terms to refer to themselves. Nothing in this document is intended to overlook nuance or personal preferences; it is used instead for consistency and to, as far as possible, describe actions rather than motivations.
In particular, the terms service users and providers, as well as “those who access or provide services” are used instead of patients and staff. This reflects that not all those who seek abortion services consider themselves to be patients, though some do.
Similarly, the term “anti-abortion activity” is used as a catch-all to encompass the range of activity that takes place outside premises providing abortion services, and, as far as possible, we refer to groups or individuals which carry out anti-abortion activity. In choosing this phrasing, we recognise that some participants are motivated by a desire to offer support and highlight abortion alternatives rather than simply advocate against abortion, and that some groups prefer the term “pro-life”. The term anti-abortion is not intended to undermine or dismiss these motivations or the ways in which groups or individuals describe themselves. Rather, it recognises that the desired outcome of activities carried out directly outside places providing abortion services is often to prevent abortions taking place. “Anti-abortion activity”, in this context, is therefore an umbrella term that focuses on the sought outcome, and allows the full range of activity to be captured.
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