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Abortion in Scotland

(36 Posts)
Andrewofgg Wed 21-Oct-15 15:58:44

See this

www.independent.co.uk/news/womens-rights-in-scotland-under-threat-by-conservative-governments-decision-to-devolve-abortion-laws-a6700866.html

Scottish MNers: is it likely that an SNP Parliament would cut back on abortion rights in Scotland?

AgentProvocateur Wed 21-Oct-15 16:11:07

No

Andrewofgg Wed 21-Oct-15 18:31:24

I hope you are right Agent - on the other hand could Holyrood go the other way and make abortion easier to get than in England?

AgentProvocateur Wed 21-Oct-15 18:39:00

I think (hope!) the status quo will remain. My worry would be if the political landscape changed and Labour had a majority - I know catholic labour MPs have been anti-choice in the past, and I'm presuming MSPs would be the same.

ReallyTired Thu 22-Oct-15 11:00:30

I feel that scots are perfectly capable of govening themselves making decisions about difficult legistation. I see no reason why abortion legistation cannot be devolved to scotland. Its up to scots to vote candidates for the scottish parliment that reflect their views.

It concerns me more religious MPs in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales restricting women in England from having an abortion, if it is a close call in Westminster whether to change existing abortion legistation. (Ie. English votes for English laws)

Andrewofgg Thu 22-Oct-15 11:39:35

Well, if EVEL goes through the NI Members will have no say in it in England.

But there is no likelihood of the matter being revisited at Westminster.

PassiveAgressiveQueen Thu 22-Oct-15 11:44:49

so by "under threat" they simply mean "in another group's control"?

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Fri 23-Oct-15 15:34:56

There is of course no real reason to believe that women's rights would automatically be under threat if the issue is devolved.

However, as a cynical feminist, I think every time abortion is looked at, women's rights are under threat - John Mason's amendment being a case in point. Let's face it, no-one's opening a debate on abortion to say, 'hey, let's make sure women have the absolute best access to services and counselling, the most choices, the most freedoms' are they?

I also wouldn't like Scotland to have a different approach to the rest of the UK - I'm deeply unhappy that Ireland does - so don't really see the point of devolving it.

So I'm on the fence (and think the Indy article isn't really talking about the issue, which is 'should this be devolved', not 'is devolving this threatening to women's rights?').

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Fri 23-Oct-15 15:38:43

Agent Catholicism isn't confined to the Labour party. (Brian Souter anyone?) and around half the Catholics in Scotland voted SNP in the last General Election, so I would expect there to be significant pressure from constituents on these new MPs in the event of a vote...

randomcatname Fri 23-Oct-15 15:44:13

Think I read somewhere that SNP have no plans to change current legislation. Also Patrick Harvie of the Greens is very pro abortion rights. I do share concerns that the large Catholic community will push for change but in a democracy they're entitled to do so. It's up to the rest of us to resist.

AgentProvocateur Fri 23-Oct-15 18:35:52

Lonny, even as I was writing my post, I knew I wasn't expressing myself well. I think I meant that traditionally, the Labour Party got the catholic vote.

HirplesWithHaggis Fri 23-Oct-15 18:43:31

Apparently only 16% of the population of Scotland identify as Catholic. Not all will oppose abortion. It's hardly a "large community".

Health is a devolved issue. Why not this one health issue?

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Fri 23-Oct-15 19:00:01

No probs Agent I thought along the same lines until I googled. A second Google just now revealed Souter also gave 100k to a an anti-abortion group in 2009. He's a real prince.

Hirples its a significant proportion of the population whose religion specifically forbids abortion and is willing to campaign about it from the pulpit.

chipsandpeas Fri 23-Oct-15 19:06:34

i think it right that it should be a devolved matter and i cant see them changing the limit to be honest

Coffeethrowtrampbitch Fri 23-Oct-15 19:06:41

I think devolving this power is the correct thing to do.

The SNP have no plans to change the current laws, but Westminster may do in the future.

Scotland have only 59 MP's in Westminster out of 633, so if a motion to change abortion law is tabled there, they do not have sufficient representation to challenge that decision.

If the power is devolved, it will be voted on by Scottish MSP's, and if they make a decision the electorate disagree with, they will be voted out in the next election. Voting out MP's doesn't make any difference as they are in a minority and can't affect policy anyway.

Basically I'm saying every policy devolved is a good thing, as the Scottish Parliament is more accountable to the Scottish electorate than the Westminster one.

randomcatname Fri 23-Oct-15 19:10:15

Yeah, it's hard not to worry about a group that's been responsible for so much abuse in history. Thankfully their influence has dimmed. Let's hope it stays that way.

Intheprocess Fri 23-Oct-15 21:00:08

Three years is a long time in politics, but: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-20002895

toomuchtooold Sat 24-Oct-15 08:20:27

IMO this is the dark side of putting more power in the hands of the people - it gets harder to defend unpopular rights like abortion because it's easier for special interest groups to bring the issue to the fore. I am Swiss/British (Scottish) dual national and I worry that Scotland will get like Switzerland if they go independent - e.g. in Switzerland if you apply for citizenship it's the local town who get the final say on your application, which has led to some fairly dodgy stuff with second generation Serbians and Turkish getting their applications turned down - that's too much devolution of power in my opinion.

On abortion, personally being pro-choice I believe that the decision to have an abortion is down to the woman herself and not a subject that the wider population should have any say in, therefore I think abortion should be available in every country regardless of whether the majority like it or vote for it.

UnDeuxCrois Sat 24-Oct-15 08:58:29

I think you have to be careful about assuming all Catholics follow the teachings of the church blindly.

I had two abortions, both of which were encouraged by my Catholic boyfriend at the time. How many Catholics oppose divorce and contraception? I realise that abortion is a more divisive and emotive subject, but even so.

Also, what about non Catholics who oppose abortion? There are plenty of them about.

I don't think that there will be significant changes in the law if it were devolved to Holyrood, but to those who think it could become more liberal, what changes do you think could be made to make it easier to get an abortion? It was not at all difficult IME.

UnDeuxCrois Sat 24-Oct-15 09:02:21

Ahh, just saw the part about life imprisonment if you fail to secure the approval of two doctors. Wow! I had no idea.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Sat 24-Oct-15 10:11:12

time limits could be increased. The 2 doctor rule could be reduced to 1. Anecdotally in some rural areas apparently it's hard/time consuming to access counselling and services. So there are definitely things that could be done to make the service better rather than more liberal.

But as I said above, I have no evidence that devolution would make the issue worse or better. I just think that whenever abortion is considered it's rarely from the pov of 'how can we make this legally available service better for the women who use it?' As opposed to 'how can we transfer rights away from women'.

UnDeuxCrois Sat 24-Oct-15 12:03:41

I can't really see them increasing it past 24 weeks with pressure coming from some to reduce it further.

You are right, I suspect it is a different story in rural areas. I was lucky enough to be in cities each time.

Ohdeargawd Mon 26-Oct-15 14:44:15

Having just had an abortion, living in rural Scotland, I couldn't have found the process any simpler. From discovering I was pg to aborting was just two weeks. What I hadn't realised is that abortion in Scotland is currently restricted to 20 weeks. Anyone choosing an abortion between 20-24 weeks is currently referred to England, which is obviously both stressful and expensive. I think this debate opens the possibility of abortion being extended to 24 weeks here too rather than being further restricted. In addition getting two docs to sign you off felt sensible and right- taking the difficult decision to abort was helped by having this process where you have the chance to change your mind if on reflection you decide not to go through with it. Two docs adds a degree of gravitas to the situation, to me it felt right that I couldn't do this on a flip decision. Given the very structured protocol, I'm not sure how anyone would get an abortion without the consent of two docs so that whole thing on life imprisonment seems a bit irrelevant.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Mon 26-Oct-15 17:44:38

I'm glad you had a good experience Ohdear.

But people shouldn't be referred to England for a 20+ week termination - the law in Scotland is 24 weeks, exactly the same as England, same piece of legislation. It is very worrying that a woman would have to travel to England for a late stage termination. Especially as typically this is due to health reasons for mother/foetus. How stressful sad. This is the sort of thing I meant above when I was talking about making the system better, rather than more liberal.

roughtyping Mon 26-Oct-15 17:58:51

It was over a decade ago, but when I found out I was pregnant with DS I was about 22 and a half weeks pregnant. I was counselled in terms of my options, even living in Glasgow there was only one doctor who was able to perform an abortion up to 24 weeks, and their clinic ran once a week if I remember correctly. Obviously it's not a common thing to happen though, that late on.

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