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Cross-Party parliamentary group on women’s health 16/01/2024 Decriminalising abortion in Scotland


Rights Scotland is delighted to have co-organised the first Cross-Party Group on Women’s Health of 2024. This Cross-Party parliamentary group, convened by the office of Monica Lennon MSP, meets regularly throughout the year and hosts discussions on various aspects of Women’s Health. The meeting welcomes expert presentations and personal experience testimonials, followed by questions and a discussion.

The first meeting of 2024 focused on abortion decriminalisation in Scotland. The Scottish legal context was introduced by Dr Lynsey Mitchell, lecturer in Law at the University of Strathclyde and was followed by a presentation from BPAS’s Lucy Grieve who went over the recent surge of abortion criminalisation in England and Wales. She also summarized the recent changes in Northern Ireland and the current abortion situation there. The presentations were concluded with a report from Dr Sinead Cook representing the FSRH (the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health’s Scotland committee). Dr Cook highlighted the practical constraints of the Scottish abortion law on abortion care providers, including the outdated need for two doctors’ signatures to permit an abortion which creates undue constraints on NHS services which are already stretched thin. She also discussed the issue that under the current law, senior nurses and midwives who already provide miscarriage care are not legally able to provide abortion medication services, creating additional burdens on care teams. 

The meeting was well attended by members of the public, and Abortion Rights Scotland will continue to press the issue with members of the Scottish Parliament in the future. 

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