Catholic Leaders Decry Scotland’s Plan to Legalize At-Home Abortions

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The head of the Catholic Parliamentary Office, Anthony Horan, has condemned the Scottish Government’s decision to permanently legalize DIY abortions despite public opposition.

“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,” Horan wrote Wednesday.

“It is dangerous for women, and it is dangerous for democracy,” he added.

The Scottish government took advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to temporarily change abortion regulations in 2020, allowing women to self-medicate with abortion pills at home rather than under professional medical supervision.

It has now indicated that it intends to make the arrangement permanent, despite resistance from a significant majority of the population.

The Scottish government held a public consultation on the issue from September 30, 2020 to January 5, 2021. Only 17 percent of the responses supported making the temporary at-home abortion provisions permanent, while 61 percent urged that they be abolished.

Moreover, 74 percent of respondents said that the home abortion facilities had had a negative impact on the safety of women.

More than 600 medical professionals signed an open letter to the Scottish, Welsh, and English governments calling for an end to at-home abortion. The letter cited concerns about abortions occurring after the ten-week limit and about women and girls being coerced into a home abortion against their will.

“Despite its own commitment to evaluate the arrangements, and despite the many concerns raised, both by medical professionals and those who responded to the consultation, the Scottish government seems hell bent on making the arrangements permanent,” Horan noted in his letter.

The government also downplayed the many negative responses to its consultation, suggesting that they carried little weight because they were “organised by pro-life or faith groups.”

The UK-based Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) praised the reaction of the Catholic Parliamentary Office, which is an agency of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland.

“It is fantastic to see the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland using their influence to give a voice to the many pro-life individuals who are being belittled, and are in danger of being ignored, when it comes to the home abortion question,” said SPUC Director of Communications, Michael Robinson.

“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,” Robinson said.

“This consultation clearly shows that there is no popular appetite for this dangerous policy to be made permanent,” he added.

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