What did SNP MSP John Mason say about abortion clinics?

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Women’s Health Secretary Maree Todd have been urged to crack down on anti-abortion vigils in hospitals and introduce buffer zones

But what did he say and what was the reaction?

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What did John Mason say about abortion clinics?

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John Mason was criticized after saying that clinics “push abortion without explaining the pros and cons”.

John Mason, representing Glasgow Shettleston, has also been criticized in recent weeks for his defense of anti-abortion “vigils” that have been taking place in Glasgow hospitals.

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SNP MSP John Mason has been criticized for his comments about abortion clinics

In an email to campaign group Back Off Scotland, which aims to create buffer zones around abortion providers to push vigils further away from patients, Mr Mason said he attended one of the events to speak to people there.

He went on to say that he believes abortion is “rarely essential or vital.”

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He also said on Twitter that “surely these signs are very gentle and offering help?” as he joined in a discussion about the signs some hold up at vigils, which often include slogans like “women regret abortion.”

When Mr Mason was asked if he thought women who wish to have an abortion should be asked how they are feeling, he said: “Yes, absolutely.

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“But the concern is that clinics don’t always ask women how they’re feeling.

“Some clinics appear to be promoting abortion without outlining the pros and cons.”

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What was the reaction to John Mason’s comments?

Lucy Grieve, the co-founder and director of Back Off Scotland, said: “John Mason’s false claims are incredibly dangerous and ignorant.

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“This is the same elected official who has admitted taking part in anti-choice protests in Scottish hospitals.

“He clearly has no idea what is going on during an abortion and his comments are offensive to abortion providers and their patients.”

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Scottish Labor Deputy Leader Jackie Baillie added: “This is an insult to all the women who have had to make this difficult decision and to all the hardworking NHS staff who have supported them.

“Women have a right to an abortion and they should be able to do so without harassment or intimidation.

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“Nicola Sturgeon has offered many warm words about it, but has done nothing. It is time they show the leadership they need and put in place buffer zones and stop their MSPs from spreading harmful falsehoods.”

In recent months, Gillian Mackay, MSP of the Scottish Green Party, has attempted to legislate for buffer zones in Holyrood.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Women’s Health Secretary Maree Todd were also urged to act.

Ms Sturgeon has repeatedly condemned the vigils and urged protesters to come to Parliament instead to voice their opposition to abortion.

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It has also set up a working group to assess the legal feasibility of buffer zones.

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