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         January 2017

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ABORTION DEBATED IN SCOTLAND 


The Scottish Government has rejected calls to decriminalise abortion up to birth. Several pro-abortion groups are in favour of weakening the current abortion law after Holyrood was granted more devolved powers this year. The abortion law in Scotland is currently the same as in England and Wales. The legal limit is 24 weeks, but if a disability is detected, abortion is allowed up to birth. 


However, according to a spokesman for the Scottish Government there are "no plans to change the law”. Reverend David Robertson, founder of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity, has commented saying: “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.” (as quoted by the Christian Institute)


Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister is said to be “very sympathetic” to the concept of NHS Scotland covering abortion costs for women from Northern Ireland who travel across to the UK for an abortion. She has said, "I am happy to explore with the NHS what the situation is now in terms of the ability of women from Northern Ireland to access safe and legal abortion in NHS Scotland and whether any improvements can be made." (as quoted by The Guardian).


While the 1967 Abortion Act legalised abortion in the rest of the UK, abortion is currently illegal in Northern Ireland. The Christian Institute’s Northern Ireland Officer, Callum Webster, has responded, saying: “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. I trust that MLAs will continue to stand firm in protecting the most vulnerable members of our society."


In February 2016, Northern Ireland Assembly members rejected a series of proposals to liberalise the abortion law in Northern Ireland. They voted 59 to 40 against amending the law to permit abortion where there was fatal feral abnormality, and 64 to 32 against permitting abortion in cases where the pregnancy was a result of sexual crime.


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/17/nicola-sturgeon-offers-help-to-northern-irish-women-seeking-abortions


http://www.christian.org.uk/news/scottish-govt-rejects-dangerous-calls-weaker-abortion-law/