A Glasgow MSP has been lambasted for claiming clinics are ‘pushing abortion without outlining the pros and cons’.
Jason Mason’s recent support for anti-abortion vigils outside hospitals has drawn fury from pro-choice activists.
The SNP member, who represents Glasgow Shettleston, said abortion was ‘rarely essential or life-saving’ after attending one of the controversial events.
Activists who gathered at the vigils were spotted with placards reading “women regret abortion” and “choose life”.
On Saturday, Mason, while engaging on Twitter around the subject, said: “Surely these signs are very sweet and offer help?
“I don’t see anything hateful or harassing about these signs.”
Asked if he thinks you should ask women who want an abortion how they feel, he added: “Yeah, absolutely. That’s the key.
“But the concern is that clinics don’t always ask women how they feel. Some clinics seem to push abortion without outlining the pros and cons.”
The issue has been highlighted in recent months, leading Scottish Greens MSP Gillian Mackay to seek Holyrood legislation for buffer zones, along with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Women’s Health Minister Maree Todd were urged to act.
The prime minister has repeatedly condemned the vigils, urging protesters to come to parliament to voice their opposition to abortion, and set up a task force to assess the legal viability of buffer zones.
Pro-choice campaigners are calling for 150m “buffer zones” – or protest-free zones – around healthcare facilities that provide abortion services across Scotland.
They believe the move is necessary to protect women from harassment by pro-life activists near clinics.
Lucy Grieve, co-founder and director of Back Off Scotland, said: “John Mason’s false claims are incredibly dangerous and ignorant.
“This is the same elected official who admitted to attending anti-choice protests in Scottish hospitals.
“He clearly has no idea what happens during an abortion, and his comments are offensive to abortion providers and their patients.”
Scottish Labor Party deputy leader Jackie Baillie later called Mr Mason’s comments “baseless”.
“It’s an insult to all the women who had to make this difficult decision and to all the hardworking NHS staff who supported them,” she said.
“Women have the right to access abortion, and they should be able to do so without harassment or intimidation.
“Nicola Sturgeon has given many warm words about this but no action, it’s time for her to show the necessary leadership and introduce buffer zones, as well as stop her MSPs from spreading damaging lies.”
While Labor MP Monica Lennon urged Nicola Sturgeon to take action on the matter.
She said: “It’s beyond pale even for John Mason MSP.
“For the sake of women and people who need abortion care and the professionals who care for them, @NicolaSturgeon and @theSNP must set the record straight and take action.”
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