Ceding powers over abortion to Holyrood could erode a woman's right to choose, it has been claimed
Devolving powers over abortion to the Scottish Parliament could lead to “discrimination” which could undermine a woman’s right to choose.
That’s the opinion of a range of third sector groups who worry that Holyrood control could lead to more conservative policies being pursued.
Concerns were raised when a devolution-urging amendment to the Scotland bill, which is currently making its way through the UK parliament, was tabled by MPs who are all members of a cross-party pro-life group.
A statement was released in response containing the signatures of 17 individuals from organisations such as Engender, Scottish Women’s Aid, Zero Tolerance, Rape Crisis Scotland, the National Union of Students Scotland, Close the Gap, YWCA Scotland, the Scottish Women’s Convention, Women’s Support Project, Amnesty International, the Human Rights Consortium Scotland, the Scottish TUC and Abortion Rights Committee Scotland.
Hasty devolution is being used to argue for regressive measures and a discriminatory impact on women and girls in Scotland
It called called on MPs to reject devolution of abortion laws and highlighted the situation in Northern Ireland, where the more restrictive laws have led to women travelling to mainland Britain for terminations.
The statement reads: “We are already in the situation in the UK where different legal frameworks of abortion have resulted in a discriminatory impact against women and girls in Northern Ireland, for which the UK has been repeatedly criticised internationally.
“Our concern is that this strategy of hasty devolution is being used in order to argue for regressive measures and, in turn, a differential and discriminatory impact on women and girls in Scotland.
“Women across the UK have fought for women’s bodies to be their own and, to this day, fight opposition to a woman’s right to choose. We do not wish this amendment to open the doors to those who seek to undermine this right.”
MPs were debating the amendment as part of line-by-line scrutiny of the Scotland bill today (Monday, 6 July).