IT calls for some careful thought when two opposing beliefs are called into conflict. On the one hand is the right to peaceful protest and freedom of expression. On the other hand is the right for women to exercise bodily autonomy.

I believe firmly in both things. But this week councillor Elaine McSporran has called for "buffer zones" to be implemented around places where abortions are carried out in Glasgow to keep protesters at bay.

During Lent the anti-abortion campaign group 40 Days For Life held daily vigils outside Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. Ms McSporran claims they were harassing women as they tried to enter the hospital and were harassing staff.

The group, which began in America and has groups around the UK, denies this and said there is no harassment or abuse taking place, merely peaceful prayer and a visible sign that abortion is not the only way.

40 Days For Life may stand and pray silently but there are multiple reports from other cities of patients and staff being followed. Reports of women being approached and handed leaflets full of misinformation about abortion or given rosary beads in pink and blue or handed tiny plastic foetuses. They refer to women going in to the clinic as "mum".

While these might not be happening in Glasgow, it is preposterous to suggest that to be faced with a group of people who believe you are literally murdering a baby is not harassing and distressing.

The abortion debate is underway in Ireland as the country decides whether or not to repeal the eighth amendment in the country’s constitution, which restricts abortion to cases where the life of a pregnant woman is at risk. It has been alarming to watch misinformation about abortion being shared online.

One such is the myth women use abortion as a form of contraception. This nonsense comes from the same thinking that would lead to the claim that a protest outside a hospital would not be deeply affecting for a woman choosing to have a termination.

That is, the notion abortion is something entered into lightly. For some women it will be a straightforward decision. For others they may have been raped. They may be desperate to be a mother but have a foetus with abnormalities stopping it developing. They may have an abusive partner.

Whatever the reason, they have made a decision and they are trying to access healthcare. Yet to access that treatment there are people protesting their choice.

40 Days For Life tells would-be members on its website that vigils should be "held outside an abortion facility or public place in your city."

If protestors had any compassion for the women they claim to want to help and support they would set up their protests away from medical facilities and choose an alternative "public place".

Ealing Council, in west London, voted in April to introduce the first buffer zone around an abortion clinic in Britain. it will ban anti-abortion groups from holding protests or vigils within 100 metres.

Other English councils are looking to follow suit by implementing Public Spaces Protection Orders. These are not enforceable in Scotland and so Glasgow City Council would have to devise a buffer zone that is enforceable.

I hope it does so. For women to have an equal place in society they must have full autonomy over their bodies. Protest groups should lobby government, not individual women exercising that autonomy.