Abortion Services (Safe Access Zones) (Scotland) Bill: letter from First Minister John Swinney to Gillian Mackay MSP

Letter from First Minister John Swinney to Gillian Mackay MSP to provide assurances regarding the Abortion Services (Safe Access Zones) (Scotland) Bill.

From: First Minister John Swinney
To: Gillian Mackay MSP

Dear Gillian,

Thank you for your letter of 10 May 2024 and your good wishes on my appointment as First Minister. I very much valued working with you during our partnership agreement and look forward to doing so now. You asked for assurances regarding your Abortion Services (Safe Access Zones) (Scotland) Bill.

I want to reassure you that there has been no change whatsoever in the Government’s position. This Government remains fully committed to supporting you on the Bill, and to ensuring that those who provide or access abortion services can do so without fear, intimidation or unwanted influence.

As you know, people continue to have a right to protest and to free speech in a democracy; however, no one has the right to harass patients or in any way impede women's right to access healthcare.

I am delighted that Members across the Chamber have endorsed the general principles of the Bill at Stage 1. I was encouraged by the robustness of the debate, and for the level of support your Bill received. This issue has shown what we can achieve when we work together, truly cross-party, and I hope that continues as the Bill moves on to Stage 2.

We will continue to support you to deliver this Bill and the vital protections it seeks to provide, and I thank you for all the work you have done so far to make the Bill a reality.

I hope this reassures you and supporters of the Bill of our steadfast commitment to continuing to work together in the weeks and months ahead to deliver safe access zones.

John Swinney MSP

First Minister of Scotland

Back to top