Nicola Sturgeon considers offering free NHS abortions to NI women
18 November 2016
Nicola Sturgeon made the comments during First Minister's Questions yesterday. Image: Getty
Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she will consider giving Northern Irish women access to NHS abortions in Scotland.
The comments came after during First Minister's Questions at Holyrood when Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie asked Ms Sturgeon what could be done to ensure that Northern Irish women could access abortion in Scotland without facing "unacceptable financial barriers".
Ms Sturgeon told the chamber: "I am happy to explore that with the NHS. To explore both what the situation would be right now in terms of accessing safe and legal abortion for women from Northern Ireland within NHS Scotland and whether there's any improvements that are able to be made."
Responding to the news, John Deighan, the Chief Executive of SPUC Scotland, said: "It is understandable that the First Minster will examine any issue presented to her. In this case I cannot envisage that she would wish to act contrary to the laws on abortion or to make efforts to undermine the laws of another country.
"Whilst campaigners for abortion may wish to present one particular picture of it, SPUC is involved in helping many women who have suffered as a result of having abortion. It is becoming increasingly difficult for promoters of abortion to keep this reality hidden. Quite simply abortion does not help the health of women."
Clare Bremner, who works as a counsellor for the Abortion Recovery Care Helpline, also commented, saying "The woman's plight doesn't end with the abortion, so we could ask the Scottish Government if it would take responsibility for the counselling and support for women grieving, distraught and traumatised by their abortion experience?"
Howlin bill progresses to next stage
The bill presented by Brendan Howlin in the Dáil, the Irish Parlaiment, seeking to ban pro-life counselling has passed the second stage and has now been referred to a select committee.
Although the Health Minister, Simon Harris, had supported the bill, he found some basic faults with it. He has called for submissions to be made to the Health Select Committee by 30 November. It is believed that a large percentage of the TDs on this committee favour abortion.
SPUC's representative in Ireland, Patrick Buckley, said: "We'd like to thank everyone who responded to our action alert, and asked their Irish friends to contact their TDs to oppose this bill. The focus now is on submitting information to the committee to counteract the claims made by those who would force abortion on Ireland."
Liverpool Pro-Life Society responds to petition attempting to ban them from campus
The University of Liverpool Pro-Life Society has released a statement in the Tab, defending themselves after a petition emerged earlier in the week asking the Liverpool Guild of Students to ban them.
In the statement, the president of the society argued that pro-life students have the right to free speech, and hit back at the claim that the society is misogynistic.
"Some people this week have claimed that our Pro-Life society is misogynistic...On the contrary, among the many concerns of pro-lifers is the fact that unborn baby girls are targeted through abortion. This is one of the subjects we would like to host on campus and we hope students will engage in fruitful and respectful discussion on the matter."
She also said that the society aims to be a "voice of support for women who want to be mothers while at university - many students are told that they are unable to both be a student and pregnant/a mother at the same time, which is not empowering to women."