Christian and pro-life groups are rallying supporters in Scotland as the Scottish Government has been accused of launching an “extremely one-sided…rigged consultation” on whether ‘DIY’ abortions should become permanent.
Women are currently able to take both pills required for an early medical abortion at home, despite concerns and warnings over the risk it poses to women, as well as the further devaluing of human life. The changes were approved at the end of March, shortly after lockdown began, and the Government said they would continue for as long as Covid-19 poses a threat to people’s health.
However, public health minister Joe FitzPatrick has now launched a consultation seeking views on whether to make the arrangement permanent.
Right To Life UK has criticised the consultation, branding it “extremely one-sided” as the consultation background evidence fails to make clear that two women have died using the ‘DIY’ abortion service.
“The consultation is extremely one-sided,” said Catherine Robinson of Right To Life UK. “Why is there no mention in the consultation background evidence that two women have died using these ‘DIY’ home abortion services? Surely that was relevant? Was it not relevant that police are investigating the death of an unborn baby after its mother took ‘DIY’ home abortion pills while 28 weeks’ pregnant or that one abortion provider was investigating a further 13 ongoing investigations?”
Ms Robinson accused the Scottish Government of repeatedly “cherry-picking” anything that supports making ‘DIY’ home abortions permanent and ignoring evidence highlighting serious issues with the schemes.
“In the background evidence to the consultation, the Scottish Government makes the claim that ‘Statistics have been published for January to June 2020 for England and Wales, which do show the Covid-19 arrangements have led to more women having their abortions at earlier gestations…’,” she said.
“While there has been an increase in the percentage of abortions prior to 10-weeks in 2020 compared to 2019, this appears to be part of a long term trend towards a higher percentage of abortions happening prior to 10 weeks, with year-on-year percentage increases happening each year for a number of years,” Ms Robinson explained. “The Scottish Government has chosen to not include this important context in the background evidence and then gone further by making the claim that ‘DIY’ home abortions have ‘led to more women having their abortion at earlier gestations’.
“The cherry-picking of evidence or views that only support introducing ‘DIY’ abortions is then repeated throughout the background evidence,” she said.
“This is clearly a rigged consultation which is seeking to make dangerous ‘DIY’ home abortion permanent in Scotland.
“We are calling on constituents in Scotland to make it clear to their MSPs that these dangerous ‘DIY’ home abortion schemes should be suspended immediately and not introduced on a permanent basis.”
Meanwhile, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has branded the home abortion provision “a travesty that should never have been introduced”.
“Allowing women to take powerful drugs at home, alone, with no medical supervision shows a complete lack of care and respect for women, as well as further devaluing the value of human life in the womb,” Alithea Williams, SPUC’s parliamentary research assistant, told The Catholic Universe.
“As we feared from the beginning, it has proved impossible to regulate. In recent months, we have had, in England, babies who have died after their mothers took the pills when months past the legal and medical limit, and abortion providers have been found to be sending out the pills without even basic checks.
“Whether or not an unborn baby should be killed is not something that should ever be debated in consultations,” Ms Williams said.
“However, we welcome the opportunity to highlight the particular horrors of the home abortion regime, and to argue that women and babies deserve better. Our supporters up and down the country will certainly be making their voices heard.”
Elsewhere, Christian Action Research & Education (CARE) said it hopes the Scottish Government pays heed to evidence of the dangers of the scheme and that the consultation hears all views on the issue.
“We will be contacting supporters in Scotland in the coming weeks to ensure as many people as possible can raise their concerns in the consultation,” CARE said.
The online consultation will run until 5th January 2021.
Picture: The Union flag, Saltire and EU flag fly outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. (Jane Barlow/PA).