The rally organized by Abortion Rights Scotland took place at noon on Monday, July 4, and was in protest to recent Supreme Court decisions, including the overturning of Roe V Wade and the expansion of gun rights.
The overturning of Roe V Wade meant that the legal right to terminate unwanted pregnancies was removed in the US. Twenty-six conservative states are either certain or considered likely to introduce new abortion restrictions or bans.
The US Supreme Court also struck down a New York law restricting gun-carrying rights and it is expected to allow more people to carry guns legally.
Anti-abortion protests Scotland: We want buffer zones and we need them now
Brittnee Leysen, an American student living in Glasgow, said: “The large expansion of gun rights in the wake of further mass murders of children in school, and the stripping of bodily autonomy by overturning Roe v. Wade are only the beginning.
“We must make our voices heard and make it clear these policies cannot make it across the ocean to our home in Scotland and our voices still matter even at a distance.”
On the day Roe vs. Wade was overturned, Abortion Rights Scotland held a rally outside the US Consulate in Edinburgh within hours of the Supreme Court announcement.
Speakers at the rally included several young Americans who are visiting and living in Scotland.
They spoke about how difficult it was to feel that a basic human right had been taken away from them in their home country.
Jane Carnall of Abortion Rights Scotland said: “In Scotland, the majority of abortions are performed by the NHS on NHS premises, and it’s easy to take for granted that we will always have this basic right.
“The shock reversal by the US Supreme Court of a long-standing and accepted right to access safe legal abortion, which was as widely accepted in the United States as it is here in Scotland, shows the rising power of the US political and religious right against this essential reproductive healthcare.
“We stand with our American friends and allies against the religious right and for the human right of abortion.”
The protest comes after Nicola Sturgeon chaired an abortion care summit in Edinburgh last week.
At the summit, the First Minister announced the Scottish Government is looking into short-term solutions such as implementing zones via bylaws in “test councils”.
The First Minister has said she is ready to “dig into” a legal battle to get a nation-wide buffer zone law.
Gillian Mackay’s bill which supports the implementation of buffer zones is currently undergoing consultation with this closing in mid-August.
A number of months may be required to finalize the Bill and related documentation.
Once introduced, a Member’s Bill follows a 3-stage scrutiny process, during which it may be amended or rejected outright. If it is passed at the end of the process, it becomes an Act.
On Sunday, an exclusive poll from The Scotsman revealed more than two thirds of Scots support the introduction of buffer zones around abortion clinics to protect women from protests.