HUMZA Yousaf has given his “unequivocal” backing to plans to create buffer zones outside abortion clinics. 

This comes after The National told how Gillian Mackay, the MSP behind the Safe Access Zones Bill, said she would be looking to speed up progress on her legislation

It comes after the 40 Days For Life religious group, an international campaign first founded in Texas, held the last in a line of “vigils” in Glasgow. 

Now, the Daily Record reports that Humza Yousaf recently met with Mackay to discuss the issue. 

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If passed at Holyrood, the legislation would see 150 metre safe access zones created which would stop anti-abortion campaigners from targeting medical facilities. 

The legislation is also backed by the British Medical Association in Scotland and the Royal College of GPs. 

More than 12,000 people responded when the plans went out to consultation. 

A spokesman for Yousaf told the Record: “The First Minister met with Gillian Mackay during his first full week in office, as introducing safe access zones in Scotland and ensuring women are able to access healthcare free from intimidation and harassment remains one of his key priorities. 

“During that productive meeting, he made clear that his support, and the Scottish Government’s support, for Mackay’s Members’ Bill is unequivocal and unwavering.

“The First Minister also offered to explore where any additional Scottish Government support can be given to Mackay and her team. 

“The First Minister hopes to meet with key stakeholders, including Back Off Scotland, in the coming weeks to discuss the Bill’s progress.”

Following the protests outside the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, an NHS doctor also called on Yousaf to implement the legislation

Dr Greg Irwin said: “These people are here to bully women coming into the hospital and seeking abortion healthcare. That’s completely out of order.

“So, Mr Yousaf, I know you’ve got a lot on your plate, but the bill’s already making its way through parliament. I would very much appreciate your help in getting it in to law as soon as possible so that Scotland can catch up with the rest of the UK and bring in buffer zones to protect our sisters and our daughters.”

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Mackay sent a message of thanks to the new First Minister after he pledged his support. 

Writing on Twitter, she said: “I thank the First Minister for meeting with me during his first full week in office to discuss my members bill and for pledging his full support to ensure Safe Access Zones and introduced ASAP. 

“Nobody should be intimidated when accessing healthcare.”