Scottish Govt rejects ‘dangerous’ calls for weaker abortion law

The Scottish Government has dismissed calls for abortion to be decriminalised up to birth.

Several pro-abortion groups have backed a new report, urging abortion to be taken out of criminal law and reclassified as a ‘healthcare issue’.

They want ministers to weaken the law on abortion after Holyrood was handed more devolved powers this year.

No limits

Currently, the law in Scotland is the same as in England and Wales. The legal limit for abortion is 24 weeks, but if the child is disabled abortion is allowed up to term.

Emma Ritch, Director of feminist organisation Engender, which led the report, believes Scotland should follow the model of Canada, which has no law to govern the practice.

Speaking to The Herald, she said: “There is no real reason for us to have time limits at all.”

The report is backed by several groups including Amnesty Scotland and NUS Scotland.

’Backwards step’

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said it has “no plans to change the law”.

Commenting on the calls, Revd David Robertson, founder of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity, said:

“The proposal to decriminalise abortion would be a backward and dangerous step leading to untold harm for children, women, the poor and the whole of our society.

“The Scottish government should be looking to reduce abortions, not encourage them.”

Undermining democracy

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, recently said she was “very sympathetic” to the idea of NHS Scotland covering the cost of abortions for Northern Irish women.

Responding to the proposal, The Christian Institute’s Northern Ireland Officer, Callum Webster, said:

“If Nicola Sturgeon was to allow this to take place, she would be undermining the democratic process of Northern Ireland.

“The law here is clear – abortion is a criminal offence. The law protects mothers and their babies. The public and the Assembly will not accept any attempt to sideline them.”

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