Nicola Sturgeon announces expanded abortion access a priority for the Scottish Government

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has announced that the Scottish Government will expand access to abortion in Scotland, despite last year’s figures being the second highest on record.

Speaking in Holyrood on Tuesday 1 September, Sturgeon outlined her party’s intention to expand access to abortion over the next 12 months.

The pledge is also included in the Government’s Programme for 2020-2021, which sets out the actions they will take in the coming year as a “priority action”.

Second-highest abortion figures on record

The SNP Government plan to expand access to abortion comes just one week after the release of official statistics revealed that the number of abortions carried out in Scotland last year reached the second highest number on record.

Official figures from Public Health Scotland show that 13,583 terminations carried out in 2019 – the highest total since 2008 and an increase of 297 from 2018 when there were 13,286 abortions.

SNP MP faces difficulty for pro-life values

One SNP MP, Dr Lisa Cameron, has faced difficulty for holding pro-life values whilst being in the party.  

Ahead of last year’s general election, Dr Cameron revealed fears that her opposition to imposing an extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland resulted in her being the last party member approved to stand for re-election.

In July 2019, the former doctor voted against an amendment which would force abortion on Northern Ireland.

While the matter was a free vote for individuals to decide in line with their own conscience, Nicola Sturgeon made it clear that she supported abortion.

Dr Camron revealed at the time her office had received more than 900 messages of “abuse” and “cyberbullying” for voting against the amendment.

Since then, Dr Cameron has continued to face a campaign of abuse from abortion activists and recently received a death threat against an elderly relative following her vote against a Bill that would deny women practical and emotional support outside abortion clinics.

Northern Ireland’s children’s commissioner calls for abortion to be compulsory school curriculum

Northern Ireland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People has called for abortion to be promoted to adolescents in Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE) lessons, it has emerged.

Koulla Yiasouma has told the Northern Ireland Office that “access to abortion” should be taught as a “compulsory component” of the school curriculum.

Her comments were made in response to a consultation on the UK Government’s extreme abortion framework for Northern Ireland.

Currently, the content of the Relationship and Sexuality Education curriculum in Northern Ireland is advisory and children and parents can opt-out.

However, the children’s Commissioner has said she looks forward to seeing proposals become a compulsory part of Northern Ireland’s school curriculum.

Extreme abortion law imposed on Northern Ireland

In June, Westminster voted in favour of motions approving the Government’s decision to impose an extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland.

Despite the Northern Ireland Assembly passing a motion rejecting the regulations, peers in the House of Lords voted to approve the motion by 355 votes to 77. Just two days later, MPs in the House of Commons voted to do the same with 253 votes in favour and 136 against.

Under the new regulations, abortion is allowed up to the point of birth for all disabilities, including cleft lip, club foot and Down’s syndrome.

The regulations also introduce de-facto abortion on demand through to 24-weeks and allow sex-selective abortion through 12-weeks.

‘Deeply troubling

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said: “The role of a children’s commissioner is to protect the rights of children and young people. Yet, in wanting to promote abortion to adolescents, the children’s commissioner is failing to recognise and protect the unborn child’s right to life. The commissioner is also attempting to run roughshod over the rights of parents to decide when to have an age appropriate conversation about the issue of abortion with their children rather than this being forced on their children by the state as a compulsory part of the curriculum in schools.”