Pro-life protest at Scots maternity unit sparks fury among campaigners

An anti-abortion protest outside a Glasgow maternity ward has sparked fury among pro-choice campaigners.

Droves of protestors were spotted lining up along Hardgate Road on Sunday evening.

The road faces the entrance to the Maternity Unit at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Holding placards, many of the protesters wore hi-vis gear to alert oncoming motors in and around the junction leading to the unit.

Pro-choice campaign group Back Off Scotland shared a snap of the group that same evening.

Maree Todd, MSP

A fuming representative took to Twitter demanding Maree Todd, Minister for Public Health, Women’s Health and Sport, ‘needs to resign’.

Just before 8pm on Sunday they wrote: “Currently over 100 anti-abortion protestors outside the maternity ward QEUH in Glasgow.

“The Women’s Health Minister Maree Todd needs to resign.

“This is happening unchallenged on her watch.”

Rose, far right, with other protestors on Friday
Rose, far right, with other protestors on Friday

On March 17 we told how 40 days of ‘prayer vigils’, are being held outside the maternity unit at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

The protest began on March 2 and will end on April 10.

Its organizer, Rose Docherty, from Bishopbriggs, revealed how she was recruited by an American-based religious group.

Rose was tracked down by group 40 Days For Life after organizers found her ‘through the pro-life grapevine’ as they looked for people to organize protests in Scotland.

She previously told the Record: “They found out about me through the pro-life grapevine.

“They just wanted to know if there was anyone in Scotland and I said I’d be willing to do that and I’d be willing to come out.”

Rose Docherty
Rose Docherty was recruited by 40 Days For Life

It comes as 40 Days For Life confirmed they now have a network of ‘several hundred’ volunteers in Scotland.

The group was set up in 2004 by people protesting at an abortion facility in Texas and expanded their network through the southern states of America before infiltrating new countries to become a world-wide group.

The anti-choice group have sparked outrage from campaigners and politicians across Scotland, with many calling for ‘buffer zones’ to be put in place around clinics to protect women from harassment and intimidation as they enter facilities.

Rose claims the group, which is affiliated with Cardinal Winnings Pro Life Initiative, stand across from facilities offering to ‘help’ women who she believes may be ‘coerced’ into abortion.

She said: “We are offering pro-life pregnancy crisis support and we’re offering help to women experiencing post abortion syndrome as well.”

Pro-choice campaigners say the ‘vigils’ are targeted intimidation and have hit out at the presence around clinics saying they should take place at “an appropriate location”, such as the Scottish Parliament.

Rose added: “If they are going somewhere for an abortion, we need to be where the help is needed.”

Lucy Grieve, Co-Founder of Back Off Scotland previously told the Record: “A number of women at the clinics who are being picked are accessing abortion services because of fetal abnormalities – they have no other choice but to terminate their pregnancy.

“We believe that protesting someone’s choice to undergo private medical care outside a healthcare facility creates a barrier to accessing these services and constitutes harassment.

“Unfortunately, a common misconception of anti-abortion protestors is that the conversations they are seeking to have with patients don’t happen within the clinic. Of course they do – patients are talked through all possible options.

“Women have felt intimidated and were upset by the presence of protestors outside clinics. The protestors self-righteous presence creates real, documented, tangible harm.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson previously told the Record: “The Scottish Government believes all women in Scotland should be able to access timely abortion care without judgment, within the limits of the law, should they require it. As such, we are working across a number of areas to improve access to abortion services, including considering policy on buffer zones around healthcare facilities.

“A working group has also been agreed with partners such as CoSLA, Police Scotland and affected Councils and Health Boards, to find an appropriate way forward as soon as possible in relation to protests or vigils outside abortion clinics to ensure that women can access abortion services without feeling harassed or intimidated.”

Maree Todd has been contacted for comment.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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