Jason Leitch and Gregor Smith say 'no evidence' abortion providers do not attain informed consent following John Mason claims

Scotland’s chief medial officer and the national clinical director have stood against claims by an SNP MSP that informed consent is not always sought by NHS staff during abortion care.

In a letter, both Gregor Smith and Jason Leitch have said there is “no evidence” abortion providers are not seeking informed consent from patients.

The letter is addressed to Scottish Labour MSP Monica Lennon, who previously asked both men to give assurances there was no evidence to support John Mason’s claims.

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Mr Mason, a SNP MSP, had sparked outrage by claiming clinics “push abortion without laying out the pros and cons”, which Nicola Sturgeon described as “wrong”.

The Chief Medial Officer Gregor Smith and the National Clinical Director Jason Leitch have stood against claims suggested by an SNP MSP John Mason that informed consent is not always sought during abortion care.

Mr Mason previously told The Scotsman there was “considerable scepticism” around the requirement for informed consent during medically approved abortions in Scotland.

The response disregarding Mr Mason’s claims comes as Gillian Mackay launched her Bill to implement anti-abortion protest buffer zones outside hospitals and clinics across Scotland.

The Green MSP said she “doubted” politicians such as Mr Mason would get in the way of the Bill being implemented.

She said the Bill sought to “protect women from harassment” by allowing them to access healthcare “in peace”.

The Bill launch follows a recent rise in anti-abortion protests outside hospitals in Scotland.

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Gillian Mackay launches 'essential' buffer zones bill to target abortion protest...

In response to Ms Lennon, both officials state: “There is no evidence to suggest that abortion providers are not seeking informed consent from patients.

"All patients have a consultation with either a doctor or a nurse (either via telemedicine or in person) before they proceed to have an abortion.

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"During that consultation the doctor or nurse will discuss the details of the procedure and options available and confirm whether the patient wishes to consent to proceed with a termination.”

Abortion care providers are required to obtain informed consent from patients prior to an abortion being carried out.

The only exception to this is in very rare cases where the patient does not have capacity to provide informed consent themselves.

The letter went on: “The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring women can access abortion care, free from stigma, should they need it."

Ms Lennon welcomed the response from both men and has called on the SNP to “properly reprimand” Mr Mason.

The Central Scotland MSP told The Scotsman it was an important official response to highlight given the “upset and distress” Mr Mason’s comments had caused many women.

Ms Lennon said: “The claims made by SNP MSP John Mason that clinics ‘push abortion’ without proper consultation were absurd and rightly rebuffed by the First Minister – his own party leader.

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“Now that the chief medical officer and national clinical director have confirmed there is no evidence to support his ludicrous allegations, Mr Mason must apologise for the upset and distress he has caused to women and healthcare workers.

“I welcome confirmation from Professor Sir Gregor Smith and Prof Jason Leitch that the Scottish Government is committed to ensuring women can access abortion care, free from stigma.

“Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP cannot allow John Mason to spout this baseless nonsense. He should be properly reprimanded by his party.”



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