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Abortion law to be devolved to Scotland

David Mundell, the Scottish Secretary, says he cannot see a ‘convincing reason’ against devolution

Scotland is to take control of its abortion laws following an announcement yesterday.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell told the Scottish affairs committee in the House of Commons that he could “not see a convincing constitutional reason for why abortion law should not be devolved".

Mundell said: “I understand that abortion law and whether it should be controlled by Holyrood are matters that many people feel very strongly about. I respect that. The subject was debated very passionately in the House during the passage of the original Scotland Bill in 1998 and again during committee stage of the Scotland Bill in July.

“The Government has reflected very carefully on the points that have been made and I can today inform the committee that we will bring forward an amendment to the Scotland Bill so that abortion law can be devolved to the Scottish Parliament," he said.

A number of organisations have opposed the move, arguing that it will make abortion laws more restrictive.

Scottish Women’s Aid, Amnesty International and the Human Rights Consortium Scotland were among 17 organisations that signed a statement to MPs urging them not to change the current legislation.

Their statement to MPs read: “We are already in the situation in the UK where different legal frameworks on abortion have resulted in a discriminatory impact against women and girls in Northern Ireland, for which the UK has been repeatedly criticised internationally.

“Our concern is that this strategy of hasty devolution is being used in order to argue for regressive measures and, in turn, a differential and discriminatory impact on women and girls in Scotland."

The laws surrounding assisted suicide are already devolved to Scotland.


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