Humanist Society Conference 2023: The Future of Reproductive Rights in Scotland
The theme for Humanist Society Scotland’s 2023 conference is reproductive rights. The global fight to give women control over their bodies is at a critical and complex stage. We will be taking stock of where the movement finds itself, the struggles and victories of recent years, and the challenges to come.
Gillian MacKay MSP
Gillian Mackay is the first ever Scottish Greens MSP for Central Scotland. Gillian, from Grangemouth, has a degree in marine biotechnology and biodiversity and worked as a researcher in the Scottish Parliament during the last session. Gillian is also the Scottish Green Party’s health and social care spokesperson and is currently in the process of taking forward a members bill to introduce buffer zones around abortion clinics.
Dr Isioma Okolo
Isioma is an obstetrics and gynaecology doctor committed to eradicating health inequities experienced by racially minoritised women whilst advancing the well-being of women and girls globally. She is a graduate of Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, the University of Edinburgh, and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Originally from Nigeria, Isioma is a global citizen, having lived and worked in Nigeria, Tanzania, Brazil, Uganda, the UK, and USA. She is a member of the Royal College of Obstetrics & Gynaecology. In 2022 and 2023 she was selected to join the UN Women UK as a delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women – the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.
Rachael is the Chief of Staff at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. BPAS is the largest abortion care provider in the UK, and Rachael manages their parliamentary and public policy work, including on buffer zones and decriminalisation, as well as their work to improve provision of abortion up to the legal limit in Scotland. Before BPAS, Rachael worked for the Liberal Democrats in Westminster.
Maggie is a non-profit fundraiser with nearly 20 years of experience campaigning for civil liberties, including freedom of belief, LGBTQ+ equality, and abortion rights in the USA. She is a board member of Humanists International, president of the Secular Coalition for America, and a former director of the American Humanist Association.
Lucy Grieve is co-founder of the grassroots pro-choice campaign group Back Off Scotland, having established the campaign as a student at the University of Edinburgh in 2020 following a surge of anti-choice protests outside clinics providing abortions near her university. Currently completing a Masters in Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, Lucy and her co-founder Alice have managed to take the campaign to establish safe access ‘buffer zones’ outside medical facilities to the top tier of Scottish politics, and has achieved support across the Scottish Parliament and from the Scottish Government. In addition to continuing to work on the successful implementation of buffer zones in Scotland, Lucy is working to raise awareness of abortion access inequality in Scotland and lobby the government to introduce rights-based reforms. Lucy was nominated for the 2022 Gordon Ross Humanist of the Year Award by the Society for her campaign and public awareness efforts.
Dr Lynsey Mitchell
Dr Lynsey Mitchell is a law lecturer at the University of Strathclyde. She specialises in human rights law and feminist legal theory. She has published academic work on reproductive rights and is currently working on a funded project on decriminalising abortion in Scotland. She sits on the executive committees of Abortion Rights and Abortion Rights Scotland.
Gemma is a humanist, teacher and campaigner for bodily autonomy. She has lodged a petition at the Scottish Parliament calling for national standards on abortion education focussed on evidence in schools following the expose of religious anti-abortion groups having access to young people in classes across Scotland.
Book your early-bird spot for 27 October at Surgeons’ Hall Museum, Edinburgh.