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Nicola Sturgeon leads abortion summit

27 June 2022

Press release | Nicola Sturgeon has led an "abortion summit" following pressure to enact buffer zones across the country.

The forum will be attended by representatives from local government, the police, the NHS, MSPs, and abortion campaigners.

Speaking before the event, Ms Sturgeon said: “The summit will consider in general terms what needs to be done to improve access to abortion".

"However, its main and most immediate focus will be on mechanisms to establish effective buffer zones", she added.

Campaign group Back Off Scotland has led calls for buffer zones around settings where abortion take place.

It believes that peaceful pro-life protesters holding signs should face criminal charges for their activity.

Private member's legislation has been brought forward at Holyrood by a Green MSP, but has not yet received government endorsement.

Despite signalling support for the principle of buffer zones, the Scottish Government admits the legal principles involved are complex.

Banning abortion protests will be seen as an attack on free expression, and could be subject to legal challenge under human rights laws.

CARE for Scotland's Michael Veitch commented:

"Today's summit is saddening to all in Scotland who believe both mothers and babies are of equal value and deserve equal protection in law. And it is a missed opportunity to ask important questions.

Rather than focus on the comparatively small issue of pro-life protests outside some clinics, leaders ought to be asking why the number of abortions taking place in Scotland have reached a record high.

Why is it that more and more women each year think ending their pregnancy is the only option for them? This is alarming. Abortion carries profound emotional and physical risks.

Are health practitioners and others giving truly impartial advice about abortion, and signposting women to places where they can find support to go through with a pregnancy?

Leaders ought to be asking why, in light of scientific advancements, abortion is permitted up to 24 weeks - past the point of viability - and up to birth when a preborn baby is disabled.

And they should be asking if the recent decision to extend controversial home abortion rules is wise, in light of the serious concerns expressed by medical experts.

We want to see a Scotland where all human life is esteemed and protected from conception to natural death. And a Scotland that reckons honestly with issues such as abortion.

We would urge politicians to consider every viewpoint in this debate, and be prepared to ask tough questions, even if this does not make them popular in the current political climate."

Read more

Debating the ethics of abortion is never easy. We need to be confident and separate fact from fiction.

CARE has a series of articles that engage with the arguments advanced for abortion which you can read here | In Depth | CARE

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In any pregnancy, both the woman and preborn baby have inherent value and dignity, by virtue of being made in the image of God. CARE is passionately pro-woman and pro-life.

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