Scotland: Bishops Defend Life

May 25, 2023
Scottish Bishops' Conference

The Scottish Episcopate is up against a very recent petition tabled in Parliament, that aims to decriminalize abortion throughout the country.

In Scotland, the right to abortion is not subject to the same legal framework as in England and Wales: abortion is still considered a crime there through the Common Law crime of procuring an abortion. However, do not imagine that this protects the right to life.

Because Scottish criminal law is significantly different from English criminal law, Scottish judges rely primarily on malicious intent (wickedness) to characterize a breach of the law. However, doctors performing an abortion very rarely go that far.

In practice, in Scotland, as in England and Wales, pregnant women can currently have an abortion up to the 24th week of pregnancy, but this does not seem to be enough for the fierce lobbies against the right to life .

Shortly before Easter 2023, a petition calling for the complete decriminalization of abortion was tabled in the Scottish Parliament. Predictably, it quickly passed the 1,500 signature mark needed for its review. Such decriminalization is advocated by the WHO, which does nothing more than promote infanticide.

Also, the Scottish Catholic bishops were quick to step up to the plate, denouncing a project which, if adopted, would make Scotland one of the most permissive countries in the matter, given that most European Union (EU) countries do not extend the possibility of abortion beyond 12 weeks.

“Statistics continue to confirm that women living in the most deprived areas of Scotland are twice as likely as others to resort to abortion,” recall the Scottish bishops who insist on the fact that “the State has the obligation to support women and families who find themselves in such difficult circumstances and who feel they have no other choice.”

And the Scottish episcopate is calling for a real awareness of the seriousness of abortion: “Every abortion involves the loss of an innocent human life. We call on the Scottish Parliament and Government in the strongest possible terms to recognize the reality of abortion, which is always fatal to the unborn child.”

In order to prevent the country from being drawn into the disastrous spiral of absolutely decriminalized abortion, the Scottish Bishops' Conference is calling on MPs “to promote alternative solutions to abortion,” and “to enforce the equality of rights” between the unborn child and any other human being.

Will this position be enough to influence the agenda of the promoters of the culture of death? In any case, according to the Scottish health authorities, the number of abortions in Scotland remains stable, at just under 14,000 per year, which represents an abortion rate of around 13.4% by woman between the ages of 15 and 44. It is a lower rate than in France (14.9% in 2021).