Abortion Rights Blog

The national pro-choice campaign

Press Release: The Scottish Government looks to improve access to later abortion service


Abortion Rights welcomes reports that the Scottish Government are looking into developing a service to provide a late abortion service in Scotland


Under the Scotland Act 2016 power and responsibility relating to abortion was devolved to the Scottish Parliament from Westminster.

Under current legislation abortions can be carried out, subject to legal requirements, up to 24 weeks gestation. However, at present women in Scotland seeking an abortion after 18 weeks gestation require to travel to England to have this procedure.

Jillian Merchant of Abortion Rights said: “We are pleased that the Scottish Government are looking into developing a service in Scotland for late abortions.

“It is unacceptable that women seeking abortion, within the legal time limits, currently require to travel out with Scotland for this healthcare procedure.

“We look forward to hearing, from the Scottish Government, the detail of how this service will be provided, in practice, and how it will ensure equality of access for all women seeking abortion.

“We hope that this will bring an end to the postcode lottery of abortion services in Scotland where there are different gestational limits for procedures throughout different Health Boards”.

“Access to safe abortion is fundamental human right for all women and we look forward to a service being provided to all women in Scotland seeking an abortion. Not a service dependent upon geographical location and ability to pay”.



Notes to the Editor:

  1. Media contact for comment and interviews Jillian Merchant (07969691618)
  2. The 1967 Abortion Act, which allows women to have an abortion up until 24 weeks gestation, is a UK law inclusive of Scotland. However, as the recent study by Purcell et al highlighted, abortion for non-medical reasons is not usually permitted in Scotland after 18-20 weeks.
  3. Scottish women face significant barriers’ – Access to Abortion in Scotland
  4. Read our full position Statement on later abortions here
  5. More than 75% of Scots are in favour of supporting abortion. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/family-relationships/scots-back-womens-right-choose-6154265
  6. Abortion Rights has a Scottish Committee and local groups around Scotland. http://www.abortionrights.org.uk/category/local-groups/abortion-rights-committee-scotland/