Official consultation results show most Scots oppose plans to make Holyrood’s unsupervised home abortion scheme permanent.
Christian Institute supporters were among the thousands who responded to the Scottish Government’s survey. Almost three quarters of respondents regard DIY abortions as unsafe, and more than six in ten wanted to end the practice.
Under emergency coronavirus legislation, women in Scotland have been allowed to take abortion pills at home within the first twelve weeks of pregnancy after just a phone or video consultation with a doctor or nurse.
Women at risk
The major concerns raised by members of the public included a lack of medical supervision and support – “with risks of serious complications including incomplete abortion, haemorrhaging, infection/sepsis, and death”.
People were worried about medication being taken beyond the legally prescribed limit and some raised the increased risk of women being forced into an unwanted abortion by an abusive partner.
The Government analysis revealed that many respondents believed the “ease of access and convenience of the current system had trivialised the practice”.
One individual warned that: “providing controlled drugs via a telephone conversation, to an unknown person, of unknown age or ability, with no method of verifying any of the information given, is neglecting our duty of care to pregnant women”.
Another was concerned that by making abortion so easily accessible: “the decision to go ahead with the procedure may be made rashly, with not enough thought or counselling”.
Quoting a further response, the report said: “It will be very convenient for those who abuse women for their own gain to force her to abort her child against her wishes, because now she doesn’t even need to come to a clinic to see anyone. It would be very difficult for her to call for help whilst on a virtual medical appointment if her abuser is there also.”
The Christian Institute’s Ciarán Kelly said the results showed “crystal clear” opposition to DIY abortion.
“The Scottish Government asked for the public’s views and it got them. As well as the unborn child, home abortion poses a significant threat to women. Women’s health should not be further endangered by allowing abortions to take place without the supervision and clinical care equivalent to that provided by a hospital.”
Statistics were presented for “All Respondents”, before being adjusted to exclude those “which followed the Right to Life template”, claiming it had “skewed” the results with ‘standard responses’.
Right to Life UK accused the Scottish Government of acting inappropriately and showing a “clear bias” against pro-life campaigners in reporting the results.