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Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

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Will Scotland begin funding Northern Irish women’s travel abortions?

Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

September 5, 2018 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) – Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has revealed that the Scottish Government will consider funding these expenses after calls from Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale in June urging Nicola Sturgeon to add the policy to her agenda.

Spending even more taxpayers money on abortion 

A letter from Ms Freeman which has recently surfaced states: "The Scottish Government believes all women should have access to abortion services as part of routine care, and available free from stigma and harassment. While we have introduced arrangements to allow women from Northern Ireland to access abortion services in Scotland without being charged, I note your concerns that there are still costs associated with their travel and accommodation."

She continued: "I recognise that providing funding for travel and accommodation would be helpful in these situations, particularly for patients on low income. I would like to reassure you that the Scottish Government are carefully considering the options for further support to women from Northern Ireland."

Defying public opinion

However, these suggestions ignore the opinion of the Scottish people. A January 2018 Comres poll revealed that 67% of Scottish voters thought it unacceptable for Scottish taxpayers to pay for the travel, accommodation and medical costs of Northern Irish women to have abortions in Scotland. SPUC Director of Communications and Campaigns Michael Robinson said:

"For Scottish politicians to consider such a bursary highlights not only a contempt for taxpayer money but is also a symbol of how out of touch Holyrood now is with Scottish voters. This proposal highlights a reckless attitude towards taxpayer money and a clear disregard for public opinion. The Scottish Government must accept the reality of public opinion and desist with forcibly oppressing the Scottish nation with outrageous abortion laws that it does not want."

Adding to pressure women feel to abort

Concerns have also been raised by ARCH (Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline), a charity offering support and counselling to women and others struggling after abortion. Counsellor Clare Bremner said: "We find around 75% of women callers have experienced pressure or coercion to have an abortion. Many have even felt pressure in the clinic, wanting to back out but feeling they can't at that stage. In trying to offer help to women in crisis pregnancies the Scottish Government would actually be adding to that pressure, becoming part of the problem instead of offering women real support. How would a woman in a panic in the clinic feel about a government bursary? Would she have to repay it? Would people be annoyed with her for changing her mind? These are real risks that must be researched and considered carefully by anyone who really cares about women."

Published with permission from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

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