Step three - Consultation
Who are your key stakeholders?
During the development of the Bill, the Scottish Government has engaged widely with a variety of stakeholders including:
- Service providers across Scotland
- Women’s Rights Campaign Groups
- Anti-abortion groups
- Pro-choice organisations
- Faith groups
- Crown Office of Procurator Fiscal (COPFS)
- Police Scotland
The views of all these stakeholder groups have been sought to ensure that the Bill fully address the issue of anti-abortion activity outside premises providing abortion services, whilst also ensuring that it is proportionate and balanced.
In May 2022, Ms Gillian Mackay MSP launched a formal public consultation on safe access zones. Ms Mackay’s parliamentary team did not contact organisations to invite responses at that time, but the consultation was open to all, including those from Island communities. The consultation analysis was published in June 2023. Approximately 11,827 responses to the consultation were received from individuals and organisations including politicians, academics with expertise in a relevant subject, professionals with experience in a relevant field and private individuals.
No organisations representing Island communities were noted within the consultation analysis. However, given that the consultation did not record locations of respondents, it is not possible to conclude that the consultation responses did not include testimony from island communities. Importantly, as the consultation was open to all, it is considered significant that no concerns were raised relating to the implementation of safe access zones in island communities.
Alongside Ms Mackay’s consultation, the Scottish Government has also conducted extensive stakeholder engagement throughout the development of the Bill. Evidence was gathered from several sources, including Health Boards, Police Scotland, pro-choice campaign groups, patient testimonials, and anti-abortion organisations to understand their views and gain insight into the impact anti-abortion activities can have on service users and providers and individuals who take part in anti-abortion activity.
Stakeholder engagement will continue as the Bill progresses through Parliament.
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