Ahead of tomorrow’s Scottish and Welsh elections, 46 election candidates have signed the pro-life ‘Both Lives Pledge’.
Last week, Right To Life UK launched a major election campaign across Scotland and Wales – the Vote For Both Lives campaign – a large-scale initiative they are running in the lead up to election day on 6th May.
The Both Lives Pledge outlines three policy changes designed to increase protection for babies in the womb and end pregnancy discrimination for women – policies that are designed to save lives by protecting and supporting both mother and child.
Three key pledges
If elected, candidates have pledged to support three key policies. The first is to work towards ending discrimination against baby girls, by supporting a law change to clarify that sex-selective abortion is illegal. Secondly, they have pledged to support a law change to lower the gestational time limit for abortion, bringing the law closer to the laws in the majority of EU member states. The final policy focuses on furthering support for 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.
Widespread public support
Independent polling by Savanta ComRes shows that these policy changes are strongly supported by the public.
The polling shows that 89% of the general population and 91% of women in the UK agree that gender-selective abortion should be explicitly banned by the law.
The polling also shows that 70% of women in the UK want to see the time limit for abortion reduced to 20 weeks or below. 79% of the general population and 84% of women in the UK agree that women who want to continue with their pregnancies, but are under financial pressure to have an abortion, should be given more support.
On 31st March 2020, it was confirmed that women in England would be permitted to take both medical abortion pills at home. Soon after, the Welsh and Scottish Governments introduced the same policy change that has remained in place throughout the Coronavirus crisis.
However, 68% of the general population and 75% of women in England are concerned about women undergoing an abortion procedure at home.
The same polling also revealed that 84% of the general population and 86% 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.
Similar results have been found from polling of the general public in Scotland. Public opinion on this issue in England and Scotland is likely to be close to where public opinion sits in Wales.
This issue is indeed a pressing one, given that research by polling company D-Cyfor in 2020 concluded that seven per cent of women in the UK have been pressured or forced into terminating a pregnancy.
The future of DIY abortion in Scotland and Wales
Since DIY home abortion has been temporarily allowed in Scotland, England and Wales, there have been a series of major safety and safeguarding issues with the temporary schemes.
This election comes at a key moment for Scotland and Wales, as both Governments are currently deciding on whether to end a temporary policy allowing ‘at home’ DIY abortion and are expected to announce their decisions following the election. The abortion lobby is putting strong pressure on both governments to proceed with introducing this change to the law.
A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:
“Since we launched the Vote For Both Lives campaign last week, tens of thousands of emails have been sent from constituents throughout Scotland and Wales asking them to sign the Both Lives Pledge”.
“46 election candidates have now signed the Both Lives Pledge making it clear that, if elected, they will be supporting important measures to increase protection for babies in the womb and end pregnancy discrimination for women. These are policies that will save lives by protecting and supporting both mother and child”.
“We have been overwhelmed by such a strong response from the community and candidates as Scotland and Wales face some of their most important elections for life issues in a number of decades”.
“The Both Lives Pledge outlines three policy changes that are designed to increase protection for babies in the womb and end pregnancy discrimination for women. These are policies that will save lives by protecting and supporting both mother and child”.