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It is time to decriminalise abortion

When faced with a decision about continuing or ending a pregnancy, most people in Scotland see that as a personal decision. However, the law states that two doctors are needed to decide if someone fits the criteria to be allowed an abortion. 


Almost all those wanting an abortion under 24 weeks fit at least one of these criteria. But if they ended their pregnancy without the permission of two doctors, they could face a prison sentence. A doctor or a nurse could also face criminal charges if they provide an abortion without it first being signed off by two doctors. This makes abortion less accessible. It makes it more complicated to provide care.


Many senior nurses and midwives currently provide miscarriage care, but the law means they are not allowed to provide abortion care independently. This can cause problems, particularly in rural areas, where there are shortages of doctors. Abortion services should be, and are, regulated. They should also, however, be treated as healthcare, rather than a criminal matter.

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