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The pledge outlines three policy changes that are designed to increase protection for babies in the womb and stop pregnancy discrimination and dangerous home abortion schemes for women – policies that will save lives by protecting and supporting both mother and child.

These policies are likely to be brought forward in the next Scottish parliament.

If elected I pledge to:
1 Stop discrimination against baby girls

Stop discrimination against baby girls

Stop discrimination against baby girls by supporting a law change to clarify that sex-selective abortion is illegal in Scotland.

Globally, well over 100 million women are estimated to be missing from populations because of sex-selective abortion (the practice of terminating a pregnancy based on the predicted sex of the baby). Women can come under intense pressure from families, husbands, boyfriends and other third parties to terminate a pregnancy, usually when a baby girl is expected.  

In the United Kingdom a lack of clarity in current legislation has been exploited to allow abortions to be provided on the basis of the baby’s sex. The British Medical Association (BMA) has outlined cases where it believes sex-selective abortion is permissible on mental health grounds, and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), which performs more than 80,000 abortions per year, also makes the claim in its literature that abortion for gender is not illegal.  

A BBC investigation revealed that new Non-Invasive Pre-Natal Tests (NIPT) are being used widely to determine the gender of babies, with women disclosing that they were under intense pressure to undergo sex-selective abortions.  There is also a body of first-hand testimony from UK-resident women who say that they have come under intense pressure from family members to have sex-selective abortions and have gone on to obtain these abortions in the UK.  

Notably, a report from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, a government advisory body, found a number of websites offering baby gender tests for around £170. In that report, the Council warned that the increasingly widespread use of the tests in the UK could lead to the country becoming a haven for sex-selective abortions.

An investigation by the Telegraph revealed that doctors were agreeing to provide sex-selective abortions ‘no questions asked.’

Independent polling undertaken by SavantaComRes showed that 89% of the general population and 91% of women agree that gender-selective abortion should be explicitly banned by the law.

2 Lower the abortion time limit

Lower the abortion time limit

Bring Scottish law closer to the laws in the majority of EU member states by supporting a law change to lower the gestational time limit for abortion.

Scotland’s current abortion time limit is out of line with the rest of Europe where the most common abortion time limit is 12 weeks.

Furthermore, there currently is a contradiction in British law. The survival rate for extremely premature babies has doubled over the past decade, prompting new guidance allowing doctors to try to save babies born as early as 22 weeks into a pregnancy. This means that in one room of a hospital, doctors could be working to save a baby born alive before 24 weeks whilst in another room of the same hospital a doctor could perform an abortion which would end the life of a baby at the same age. 

Bringing Scottish law closer to the laws in the majority of EU member states by lowering the gestational time limit for abortion will bring us in line with modern science and is well supported by the public.

Independent polling from SavantaComRes shows that 70% of women want to see the time limit for abortion reduced to 20 weeks or below.

3 Stop pregnancy discrimination and unsafe home abortion schemes

Stop pregnancy discrimination and unsafe home abortion schemes

Support women in the workplace by backing policies designed to end pregnancy discrimination and stop women’s safety being put at risk by supporting attempts to end home abortions.

The Equality Act 2010 was supposed to end discrimination in the workplace, but evidence has emerged that pregnant women and mothers still face high levels of discrimination

Findings from interviews conducted with over 3,000 employers and over 3,000 mothers show that an alarming 77% of women report having “a negative or possibly discriminatory experience during pregnancy, maternity leave, and/or on return from maternity leave.”  More specifically, “half of mothers. . . described a negative impact on their opportunity, status or job security,” and “20% reported financial loss as a result of their pregnancy.”

Experiencing pregnancy and maternity discrimination could result in a scenario where women have to pick between being discriminated but financially secure, or leaving their job and struggling financially.  No woman should have to make this choice. 

The Scottish Government is currently deciding on whether to make the temporary measure allowing ‘DIY’ home abortions in Scotland permanent.

Since home abortions have been temporarily allowed, as has been reported extensively in the media, a number of significant safety and safeguarding problems have put the lives and health of many women in danger (details of these significant problems are available here).

Home abortions are needlessly putting women at risk and ending them will ensure that women do not have to face the significant risks they are currently facing with home abortions.

Independent polling from SavantaComRes shows that 79% of the general population and 84% of women agree that women who want to continue with their pregnancies, but are under financial pressure to have an abortion, should be given more support.

Independent polling from SavantaComRes shows that 68% of the general population and 71% of women in Scotland are concerned about women undergoing an abortion procedure at home. The polling also shows that 84% of the general population and 87% of women are concerned about women being at risk of being coerced into an abortion by a partner or family member during the home abortion process where a doctor does not see the woman in person.

Are you an MSP candidate?

Click here or email pledge@righttolife.org.uk to sign the pledge.

The more MSP candidates that respond, the better informed the public will be

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