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by Louise Wilson
15 September 2022
SNP MSP John Mason handed warning over anti-abortion tweets

SNP MSP John Mason handed warning over anti-abortion tweets

SNP MSP John Mason has been given a formal written warning from his party after he expressed his views on abortion on social media.

He came under fire earlier this year for a series of tweets in which he defended protests outside of hospitals providing abortion care.

In one tweet, Mason said: “Surely these signs are very gentle and offering help? I do not see anything hateful or harassing about these signs.”

In another, he added: “Clinics are not always asking the women how they feel. Some clinics seem to be pushing abortion without laying out the pros and cons.”

His views are at odds with that of his party and many of his colleagues spoke out against him at the time.

In a letter leaked to the Daily Record, party officials said: “The verbalisation of your views has caused great distress and trauma to many women and have also been regarded as misinformation by medical professionals.”

The party said that while it respected his right to freedom of speech and expression, it said he did not “have the right to impose these views on others”.

Officials said Mason’s behaviour was “extremely disappointing” and had “brought the parliamentary group into disrepute”.

The letter continued: “We consider this breach a serious one and are issuing you with a formal written warning. This warning will stay on file for 24 months during which time there must [be] no further breaches.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed in the programme for government speech at the start of September that the government would support Green MSP Gillian Mackay’s buffer zone bill.

She said: “We will work with Gillian Mackay and MSPs across the chamber to safeguard women’s access to abortion services without harassment or intimidation.”

Mason declined to comment.

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