No Evidence Pro-Life Vigils Cause Distress - NHS
Pro-life vigils will be allowed to continue in Scotland’s capital after a council body set up to consider ‘buffer zones’ heard there was no evidence to suggest the vigils cause ‘unnecessary distress.’ Edinburgh City Council had been considering proposals to ban peaceful pro-life vigils.
A joint working party involving City of Edinburgh Council, NHS Lothian and Police Scotland had considered the establishment of a zone which would have prohibited prayer, information and conversations taking place in proscribed areas around local abortion facilities.
A report on the working party’s findings, presented to the Edinburgh South East Locality Committee on Monday March 18, did not recommend using police powers to ban vigils.
Two NHS officials from the facilities where vigils take place told the council that “as things currently stood there was no overwhelming evidence to suggest the actions were causing unnecessary distress and as such did not feel the necessity to enact any police measures.”
The “silent vigils” outside Edinburgh Royal Infirmary are “often not noticed,” the council report on the working party evidence states. The report states that the council will revisit buffer zone proposals “should the situation increase in intensity.”
Patricia MacLennan, who organises peaceful vigils in Edinburgh welcomed the Council’s decision. “We are so grateful to the council and the NHS for respecting our right to freely pray,” she said. “We have been offering support, love and compassion for more than eleven years and in that time, we have never been anything put peaceful and respectful in our behaviour.”
Scottish Catholic Observer. March 22.