With the news that control over abortion law is due to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament, Engender is calling for a progressive approach to abortion that reflects the fact that it a health issue that also underpins women’s autonomy and equality with men.
In July, Engender was one of several organisations to sign a joint statement urging caution over the devolution of abortion as part of the Scotland Bill. We are not opposed to the devolution of abortion to Scotland, but were concerned that the haste of the Smith process and the Scotland Bill itself may lead to a reduced timetable for discussing the content of any abortion law. We are disappointed that engagement with civil society, and the women’s sector, did not form part of the UK Government’s decision-making in seeking to amend the Scotland Bill.
Despite the flaws in the process, we are now keen to work with women’s and equalities organisations, trade unions and all political parties to ensure that abortion law in Scotland adequately reflect the needs and priorities of women in Scotland. Internationally, abortion law-making can be a highly politically charged process. We must take this opportunity to ensure that Scotland gets this right the first time, and that we create abortion laws with women’s dignity, autonomy, and wellbeing at their heart.
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