Pro-life group disappointed after judge sides with Scottish Government on abortion pills


A pro-life group has lost its legal challenge against the Scottish Government's plans to allow women to take abortion pills at home. 

The Scottish Government changed the rules last year to allow women in Scotland to take misoprostol at home on the condition that they had first taken the drug mifepristone in a clinic 24 to 48 hours beforehand.

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) had argued that allowing women to take the drug at home was "not consistent" with the 1967 Abortion Act requiring the presence of medical, nursing or clinical staff.

They also argued that the list of approved places for an abortion in the 1967 Act "was not intended to allow abortions to take place at home".

SPUC said it was considering taking the case to the Supreme Court after three judges sided with the Scottish Government on Wednesday. 

In their verdict, Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Menzies and Lord Brodie said: "We do not accept that the doctor's control or supervision over the treatment differs in any material way between the situation of taking the tablet within the clinic and then leaving; and that of delaying the taking of the tablet to allow the woman to travel home.

"Both result in the termination of the pregnancy taking place outside of the clinic.

"In each case the RMP can properly be described as taking responsibility for the treatment of the termination of the pregnancy and control in the appropriate sense is maintained."

John Deighan, chief executive of SPUC Scotland said he was "greatly saddened" by the decision.

"We have been convinced all along that the policy decision by the Chief Medical Officer and Scottish Government was illegal as well as detrimental to the well-being of women in our country," he said.

"Women should not be facing the mental anguish that accompanies DIY abortions, nor any abortion for that matter." 

He added: "For the sake of women's health and the universal right to life we cannot stand idly by whilst such a detrimental measure is implemented in the name of health care."