LEICESTER, United Kingdom – Scotland’s decision to ignore public opposition and push forward with a home abortion regime is “deeply concerning,” according to the Catholic Church.
After the pandemic lockdown was imposed in the United Kingdom in March 2020, the Scottish government allowed women to be allowed to take the abortion-inducing medication mifepristone and misoprostol in their own homes after a telephone or video consultation with a doctor or nurse, with the pills being delivered by the mail. Under normal conditions, women should first attend a hospital or clinic for an in-person appointment before being given the medication.
Abortion laws are under the competency of the individual nations of the United Kingdom, except for Wales. In Scotland, abortion has been legal since 1967 up until the 24th week of pregnancy.
At the time, Bishop Hugh Gilbert, the president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, accused the government of “trivializing what is an extremely serious and life-changing procedure.”
Now the government is considering making these provisions permanent and held a public consultation on the matter which closed on Jan. 5. Such consultations are common in the UK when considering legislation.
Only 17 percent of the submissions wanted the temporary home abortion provisions made permanent, with 61 percent calling on them to be abolished.
Additionally, more than 600 medical professionals signed an open letter to the Scottish, Welsh and English governments calling for an end to “at-home” abortion because of concerns about abortions occurring beyond the ten-week limit set by law, as well as over fears that women and girls could be coerced into having an abortion against their will.
Despite these numbers, according to the recently released “Women’s Health Plan” for 2021-2024, the Scottish government plans to make access to home abortions permanent.
According to Anthony Horan, the head of the Catholic Parliamentary Office of the Scottish bishops’ conference, the government’s decision “rides roughshod over democratic convention” by deliberately setting out “to diminish the views of thousands of individuals who responded to a consultation on home abortions.”
“The Scottish Government shockingly sought to downplay those individuals who raised concerns, labelling a significant number of the responses as ‘organized by pro-life or faith groups’ as if to downgrade their importance. The same treatment was not given to pro-abortion groups,” he said in a Sept. 1 statement.
“Not only is the Scottish Government risking the health and wellbeing of vulnerable women and their unborn children, for whom abortion is always fatal, it also rides roughshod over democratic convention. It is dangerous for women, and it is dangerous for democracy,” he said.
Michael Robinson of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) said that pro-life individuals in Scotland “are being belittled, and are in danger of being ignored, when it comes to the home abortion question.”
“After more than a year since the introduction of DIY abortion as a temporary measure, there is abundant evidence that this was a reckless, poorly evidenced policy that continues to put women at risk,” he said in a statement.
“This consultation clearly shows that there is no popular appetite for this dangerous policy to be made permanent. However, … the pro-abortion lobby views democracy with disdain, ignoring all opposition as it pushes its agenda of death,” he said.
Follow Charles Collins on Twitter: @CharlesinRome