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Condemnation over free abortions in Scotland for Northern Irish women

Pro-life activists have condemned the Scottish Governments decision to off free abortions to women from Northern Ireland.

The move, that echoes the British Government’s announcement last week, will mean Northern Irish women will be able to have their pregnancy terminated on the NHS in Scotland. Abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland except in very exceptionally circumstances.

“This is a disgraceful decision,” CEO of SPUC Scotland, John Deighan, said. “Nicola Surgeon’s government prides itself on distancing itself from that of the UK, but it is quite willing to ape its decisions when it comes to ending the lives of Northern Irish babies. This also makes her aspirations for an independent Scotland seem completely hypocritical – she wants respect for Scotland as an autonomous nation, but has absolutely no respect for the laws and beliefs of a fellow devolved nation.”

“This move, by both the UK Government and by the Scottish Government, completely undermines the democratic will of the people of Northern Ireland, who have proved time and time again that they want to protect the unborn,” he went on. “Abortion is not healthcare, and as a compassionate society we should be looking at better solutions to crisis pregnancy – solutions in the best interests of both mother and child.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said that they believed abortion should be ‘part of standard healthcare for all woman, and available free from stigma’.

“The Scottish Government believes that a woman from Northern Ireland, in Scotland, should be able to access an abortion for free on the same basis as women in Scotland and we will set out shortly how that can be achieved,” he added.

It comes after a recent vote by the British Medical Association (BMA) to decriminalise abortion up to birth.

SPUC Scotland responded with a petition, www.spucscotland.org/petition, asking pro-lifers to oppose the decriminalisation decision.

Abortion is currently illegal in Northern Ireland unless is exceptional circumstances, with estimated hundreds of women being charged on the NHS to travel to other parts of the UK to procure abortion procedures.

The UK Government backed funding for Northern Irish women to have free abortions in England last week, as well as Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones.

Scotland is the latest part of the UK to follow suit.

As part of the 2016 Scotland Act, new powers over abortion were given to Holyrood, with the First Minister saying she would look further into the issue.

The issue was first brought up at FMQs last year by the Scottish Green Party.


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