Pro-life group's abortion up to birth fears after election of new SNP leader Humza Yousaf

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Pro-lifers are calling on new SNP leader Humza Yousaf to abandon his support for the decriminalisation of abortion in Scotland. 

Earlier this month, Yousaf said on Twitter that he planned to bring forward decriminalisation proposals in the current parliamentary term.

Right to Life UK warned that the changes will permit abortion on demand for any reason up to the point of birth in Scotland, including sex-selective abortion.

Under current law, abortion is a crime in Scotland but exemptions allow it to be available on request up to 24 weeks, with the approval of two doctors. 

Recent polling from Savanta ComRes found that only 1% of British women support abortion up to birth or extending the upper time limit beyond 24 weeks. 

In the same tweet, Yousaf also expressed his "unequivocal" support for Green MSP Gillian Mackay's bill to introduce abortion clinic buffer zones across Scotland. The buffer zones would criminalise prayer and offers of help to women outside abortion clinics.

Right to Life UK said that the proposed decriminalisation of abortion "would leave Scotland with one of the most extreme abortion regimes in the world".

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: "Humza Yousaf has committed to a change to abortion law, proposed by radical pro-abortion campaigners, that would see the upper time limit completely abolished in Scotland. Abortion would be available on demand, for any reason, right through to birth. This means abortion throughout pregnancy."

She continued, "Are the 13,758 lives lost to abortion in Scotland in 2021, the fourth highest on record, not enough for Humza Yousaf? It appears not.

"Police Scotland recently confirmed to The Guardian that they had no recent cases of women being charged for procuring an abortion in Scotland. So it is disingenuous for politicians and campaign groups to claim that they are seeking this law change to stop prosecutions."

She called on Mr Yousaf to commit to reducing abortion numbers.

"What decriminalisation is really about here is making radical changes to abortion legislation that would allow abortion up to birth, a change in the law that polling shows the general public and women, in particular, are totally against," she said. 

"Humza Yousaf should be committing to bringing forward sensible new restrictions and increased support for women with unplanned pregnancies.

"This would ensure we were working together as a society to reduce the tragic number of abortions that happen each year."