Most Scots want DIY abortion to end - consultation

(Photo: Unsplash/HuChen)

The results of the Scottish Government's consultation on whether to allow 'DIY' home abortions permanently were published this week.

Only 17% of submissions supported making 'DIY' home abortions available permanently in Scotland.

Some 61% of those who responded expressed support for the temporary 'DIY' home abortion services being ended, while 21% submitted other suggestions for how to proceed, which they provided in a free-text response box.

An analysis of these responses by Right To Life UK showed that the vast majority of the free-text 'other' responses wanted to either end 'DIY' abortion services or introduce more restrictions to abortion services in Scotland.

Furthermore, 74% of respondents outlined that they felt 'DIY' home abortion services are having a negative impact on the safety of women accessing abortion services.

Strong public opposition

This strong public opposition to making 'DIY' home abortion permanent is also reflected in polling undertaken by Savanta ComRes that shows the overwhelming majority of the general Scottish public, especially women, are concerned about the safety, quality and legal issues arising from 'DIY' home abortion.

Over 600 medical professionals have signed an open letter to the Scottish, Welsh and English Governments calling for an end to 'at-home' abortion due to concerns that it has led to a number of abortions occurring over the 10-week limit and that it fails to protect women and girls from being coerced into an abortion against their will.

Significant problems have arisen

Abortion statistics released by Public Health Scotland show that the number of abortions carried out in Scotland reached the second-highest number on record in 2020.

This significant rise in abortions has accompanied the Scottish Government introducing the temporary measure in March 2020 allowing 'DIY' home abortions in Scotland. 

Since 'DIY' home abortions were introduced, a number of significant problems have arisen. 

According to a leaked "urgent email" sent by a regional chief midwife at NHS England and NHS Improvement on the "escalating risks" of 'DIY' home abortions, several women attended Emergency Departments for incidents including significant pain and bleeding, ruptured ectopics, and resuscitation for major haemorrhage. The email leak also revealed police opened a murder investigation into the death of a baby who they believe was born alive despite her mother taking 'DIY' home abortion pills. 

A nationwide undercover investigation found evidence of abortion providers putting women at significant risk by not carrying out basic checks before sending them 'DIY' home abortion pills.

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson, said: "It is clear from the responses to this consultation that there is very little public appetite for making these dangerous 'DIY' abortion services available permanently in Scotland.

"We are also very concerned about clear bias shown in the reporting of the consultation results. In the reporting of the results, the Scottish Government has separated responses from members of the public that came from a Right To Life UK campaign encouraging the public to make a submission.

"A number of pro-abortion groups ran similar campaigns, but their responses were not separated in the reporting, while those using information provided by Right To Life UK were. This is highly inappropriate.

"Thousands of women have been put at risk from these 'DIY' home abortion schemes and we are calling on the Scottish Government to end them immediately. Every day that these services continue, more women are put at risk."

Courtesy of Right to Life UK