Group plans to open branch in Edinburgh
An anti-abortion charity which promoted a lie that terminations cause cancer has had a new Scottish branch approved as a charity.
The organisation is set to open a branch in Edinburgh, its second in the UK, promising to offer women “pro-life alternatives to abortion” and “life-giving support”.
Stanton Healthcare was set up by American activists with its chief executive previously advising women in Northern Ireland that terminations can lead to breast cancer, infertility and depression.
In 2018, a counsellor at the charity’s Belfast branch was secretly recorded telling an undercover reporter that she was “too beautiful for abortion” and that a termination would make her breasts “fill with cancer”.
Megan Manson, the head of policy and research at the National Secular Society said: “Charities have a duty to provide a public benefit. Any organisation that provides women misleading healthcare information due to religious biases cannot be fulfilling this duty and should not operate as a charity.”
A spokesman for OSCR said the application was “carefully assessed as its own, separate, entity”.
He said: “Based on the evidence we gathered during the application process, we determined that the organisation’s purposes were charitable under the legislation and the activities it plans are intended to provide public benefit, taking into account all the factors the law requires us to consider, including possible disbenefit to the public.”
Donna Cameron, the executive director of Stanton Healthcare (East of Scotland), said: “Women from the poorest parts of Scotland have abortion rates more than twice as high as those from wealthy areas. Stanton Healthcare (East of Scotland) is a new pro-life Scottish charity which has been set up to tackle this long term, and growing, inequality.
“We’re looking forward to helping any woman who wants our help with her pregnancy with whatever she needs, for as long as she needs it.”
Activists have been targeting abortion clinics in Scotland with patients being intimidated when trying to attend appointments.
It has led to plans for buffer zones around the clinics which are currently being considered by a number of local authorities.