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Scottish legal challenge to protect women from trauma of home abortions

Scottish legal battle over home abortions

SPUC Scotland is pursuing a judicial review against the Scottish Government: Home abortions put women at risk and are unlawful.

27 April 2018 marked 50 years since the Abortion Act 967 came into force. Tragically, nine million babies, and counting, have lost their lives. The Abortion Act is a bad law, but it does include certain important limits to abortion. One such limit is that the home is not an approved place for abortion. Yet, last October, at a stroke, the Scottish Government set about nullifying part of the law, put there to offer at least some safeguard for women, by announcing it would permit so-called ‘medical’ abortions at home.

SPUC’s warning

SPUC Scotland warned Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer that unless plans for this type of abortion were dropped, SPUC would take legal action. That warning was ignored and consequently on the 20th March was granted SPUC Scotland leave to pursue a judicial review. 

The full judicial review hearing took place on the 14th and 15th May. The decision - which approved home abortions - will be appealed.

SPUC is covering the costs of this review, which will be made possible by the generosity of our supporters.

Public opposition to Scottish Government plans

An opinion poll revealed the public's opposition to the Scottish Government's plans to liberalise the abortion law.
The UK government have stated that they are "looking closely" at SPUC's legal challenge to home abortions in Scotland.

Watch the video for an interview on the case with John Deighan, CEO of SPUC Scotland:


What does a ‘medical’ abortion involve?

The procedure involves taking two drugs. The first drug, mifepristone, is administered in a clinical setting (such as an abortion clinic).  This drug will, in most cases kill the baby. A second pill, misoprostol, is taken at home to expel the dead baby’s tiny body. Studies show that medical abortions can affect women badly.

What SPUC’s lawyers will argue

SPUC’s lawyers will argue that the Scottish Government is acting beyond its powers, and is in contravention of the Abortion Act 1967 by demonstrating that:

  1. The taking of misoprostol at home without the presence of a medical practitioner, or a nurse or other member of clinical staff ultimately subject to a medical practitioner’s direction, is not consistent with section 1 of the 1967 Act.
  2. The approval of a pregnant woman’s home as a class of place where treatment to terminate pregnancy may take place is so broad as to not properly constitute a permissible class [of place].

We need your help

By mid-May the bill for the judicial review stage of our legal challenge was over £44,000. The contributions SPUC receives from our supporters have made such a critical difference for good in the world; they have been and continue to be the cornerstone of our work, including our fight against all moves to decriminalise abortion, our support of life-saving pro-life vigils by opposing the introduction of buffer zones, and challenging the sexualising of children and the promotion of abortion to children through inappropriate sex education.

Please support our work with a small gift today. You can make your donation using the form below, or by using any of the methods on our Donate page.

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