Pro-life campaigners in court to challenge ‘DIY’ abortions

Pro-lifers have started legal action against the Scottish Government for allowing women to have ‘DIY’ abortions at home.

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) is spearheading a judicial review in Edinburgh’s Court of Session. The two-day hearing started today in front of Lady Wise.

Since October, women in Scotland have been able to take the abortion drug misoprostol without oversight from doctors after a change in policy hurried through by Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood.


Calderwood’s change came without parliamentary scrutiny or public consultation and was celebrated by abortion giant BPAS – the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.

But SPUC believes the policy “is an unlawful position”. John Deighan, Chief Executive of SPUC Scotland, said the Scottish Government “have refused to engage in discussion on the matter” and that SPUC was “left with no option but to proceed to challenge it through the courts”.

“Our legal advice is clear, and we are confident that the Scottish Government’s decision to give women the abortion pill to take home is not in keeping with the law.”

Legal challenge

The case is being led by Morag Ross QC, a former legal advisor to the Scottish Government.

SPUC’s challenge is on the grounds that the 1967 Abortion Act contains specific rules for approved places where abortions can take place and “was not intended to allow abortions to take place at home”.

It also argues that ‘DIY’ abortions are “not consistent” with the Act as it demands the presence of medical, nursing or clinical staff.

Medical abortions involve taking two tablets – mifepristone, which detaches the developing baby from the lining of the womb, and misoprostol which induces a miscarriage.

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