December 20, 2018 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) – The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) returned to Court Tuesday to appeal a judge's decision to back the Scottish Government's controversial plans to allow DIY abortions at home.
SPUC Scotland filed the legal challenge in January, after Scotland's chief medical officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood, refused to reverse her decision to authorise the taking of misoprostol (the second stage of a medical abortion) outside a clinical setting.
The appeal follows a two day hearing earlier this year at the Court of Session, in Edinburgh, which Lady Wise rejected. Today's hearing was procedural, with the full hearing to take place in April.
“Our position remains the same.”
John Deighan, chief executive of SPUC Scotland said:
“We were disappointed by the original decision, but it was always our intention to fight this case all the way. Our position and beliefs remain the same.
“At the original hearing our arguments convincingly exposed the unlawfulness of the actions taken by the Scottish Government in contravention of the law. After thorough consideration of the judgement and in tandem with legal advice we now appeal the decision.
“We owe it to our supporters who continue to make donations to cover our legal costs.”
Hard to square with human rights commitments
SPUC's challenge rested on two major grounds: firstly, that the home is not an approved place for abortions to take place, and secondly, that the Abortion Act demands the presence of medical, nursing or clinical staff during a procedure.
Mr Deighan said: “For the sake of women's health and the universal right to life we cannot stand idly by whilst such a detrimental measure is implemented in the name of health care.
“The abortion pill policy trivialises the terrible ordeal that medical abortion inflicts on women and it can now do so in an environment where women self-administer powerful drugs with no proper medical supervision or support,” he went on. “We continue to be alarmed at the Scottish Government's policies to liberalise abortion, this is hard to square with their other commitments on health and human rights.”
He also raised concerns about how the lax attitude towards abortion has allowed widespread coercion of women. “Rather than really being about a woman's choice it has so often become an option which women are pushed towards when their pregnancy is inconvenient to others,” Mr Deighan said. “So many women will afterwards say that they had no choice other than abortion. This compounds the mental suffering that post-abortive women endure.”
You can donate to SPUC's work, including this legal challenge, here.
Published with permission from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.