Scottish government sets date for abortion summit

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The Scottish government has confirmed the date for an emergency summit being held on abortion provision in Scotland. 

The Scotsman newspaper reports that the summit will be held on 27 June at the Edinburgh Hilton Carlton and will last for around three and a half hours.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a summit in Holyrood last month in response to pro-life activity outside abortion clinics across Scotland. 

The summit coincides with increasing pressure for abortion clinic buffer zones to be introduced that will criminalise pro-life activity near abortion clinics.

Ms Sturgeon backs the introduction of buffer zones and has said that the Scottish government is looking how it can be legislated for "in a way that is effective and capable of withstanding legal challenge". 

She also expressed her support for local authorities using byelaws to establish buffer zones.

Pro-life vigils outside Sandyford clinic in Glasgow have become a flashpoint in the national debate, with the campaign for buffer zones being led by campaign group Back Off Scotland.

Pro-life groups say that their vigils are peaceful and a vital means of offering information to women about alternatives to abortion.

They also assert that buffer zones will violate free speech.