Pro-lifers launch legal action over ‘DIY’ abortions

Pro-life campaigners are taking 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 seeking a judicial review in Edinburgh’s Court of Session, and has slammed ministers for pursuing an “unlawful” policy that “trivialised abortion”.

Since October, Scottish women 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.

‘Unlawful position’

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

Announcing the legal challenge, John Deighan, Chief Executive of SPUC Scotland, said: “The Scottish government has made its decision to continue with this policy. We believe that this is an unlawful position. They have refused to engage in discussion on the matter.”

He added that SPUC was “left with no option but to proceed to challenge it through the courts”.

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

Legal challenge

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 kills the developing baby, and misoprostol which induces a miscarriage to expel it from the womb.

There have since been calls for a similar change to be implemented in England and Wales, with support from the President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

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