Gender and Politics in the media

Devolving abortion law: a positive step or cause for concern?

Gender Politics at Edinburgh

With powers over abortion legislation set to be devolved to Holyrood, Jennifer Thomson asks whether this presents an opportunity or a potential setback for women’s rights in Scotland.

mage © Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body – 2012. Licensed under the Open Scottish Parliament Licence v1.0 mage © Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body – 2012. Licensed under the Open Scottish Parliament Licence v1.0

Powers over abortion are set to be devolved from Westminster to Edinburgh. The news, breaking last week, was surprising, given that there had been little intimation from national government that this was to happen, and little encouragement to devolve this issue from any of the Scottish parties. Scotland is not the first of the devolved regions to be allowed to decide on this issue separately from central government. The 1967 Abortion Act, which continues to allow for legal terminations in England, Scotland and Wales, has never been extended to Northern Ireland, and the procedure there continues to be strictly prohibited.

Yet the unexpected decision to move this issue…

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