EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - MARCH 15 :SNP leadership contender and Health Secretary Humza Yousaf on the way to Portfolio Questions in the Scottish Parliament, on March 15, 2023 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Ken Jack/Getty Images)
Artillery Row

Yousaf to be kidding us

The SNP candidate is wrong on abortion

It’s been barely a month since Sturgeon’s premiership died on a hill of gender ideology. 

Despite two-thirds of the Scottish population being in opposition, our former matriarch charged forth with a policy that would reduce the word “woman” down to only a feeling — and put vulnerable females in women’s prisons at risk of predatory men. Pursuing so-called “woke” ideas to their ultimate conclusion exposed a sad truth. At the finish line, it’s women that lose. Ultimately, so did Sturgeon. 

Leaders shouldn’t bulldoze extreme approaches to sensitive cultural issues. It’s fascinating then that Humza Yousaf, contending as her successor, wouldn’t learn from this folly.  

The self-styled “continuity” candidate has a lot to live up to

The self-styled “continuity” candidate has a lot to live up to when it comes to progressive branding. On gender ideology, there isn’t much further to push, other than defending self-identification against big-bad-Westminster, who want to put an end to it. So Humza has set his sights on alternative culture war territory.  


The current Health Secretary has committed to radically reforming Scotland’s abortion law to become one of the most extreme not only in the UK, but in the world. 

On Twitter last week, Yousaf declared his intent to decriminalise abortion within the current parliamentary term. 

Abortion is a crime under common law in Scotland, but can be legally carried out until 24 weeks gestation. This surpasses the point at which a baby can survive independently outside of the womb — currently just over 21 weeks. Even currently, our term limit falls much later than the EU average. Countries on the continent typically limit abortion at 12 weeks gestation.   

Decriminalising abortion in Scotland would make the current “legal exceptions” currently in place redundant — thus scrapping our 24-week time limit. With no more criminal framework, abortion would be available on demand, for any reason, up to birth. A former BPAS CEO has made clear that “no legal upper limit” is the aim of decriminalisation. Without the criminal law in place to provide safeguards, abortions could be performed for controversial reasons such as sex-selection — where, for example, baby girls could be terminated because a son is preferred. 

Whatever one’s personal position, the fact remains: Humza’s headlong rush into one of the most globally extreme positions on abortion is not reflective of Scottish attitudes. According to polling carried out by Savanta Com Res, two thirds of Scots believe the criminal law is necessary to prevent medical malpractice. As many as 93% agree that abortion based on gender preference should be explicitly banned in law. And when informed that the EU average abortion limit was 12 weeks, only 1 per cent of Scots wanted to see our limit expanded beyond the current 24-week mark. By contrast, half of Scots surveyed, and 70 per cent of women across the UK, said they’d like to see the term limit reduced to something lower than 24 weeks. 

The Holyrood bubble has lost touch. Most Scots don’t revolve their lives around the culture war battleground of Twitter, which politicians inhabit daily. Surveys carried out in February found that most Scots list the NHS, the cost of living and economy as their top three priorities; but said their government had prioritised achieving independence and ideological gender reform.  

Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing repeatedly, expecting different results. Pursuing outlandish strategies to make our country more radically “progressive” than the rest of the world, without popular buy-in nor with adequate safeguards to protect vulnerable women, has not proven to be a winning strategy for the SNP. The three candidates for the top have all made a point of needing to listen to the Scottish people. It’s time to do that, rather than showboating “woke” takes on hot-button issues. 

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