Poll shows Scottish backing for existing abortion law

Ann Henderson

More than three-quarters of people in Scotland support legal access to abortion, according to a new opinion poll commissioned by Abortion Rights Edinburgh.

The survey, conducted earlier this month, shows little appetite for new restrictions on abortion to be introduced in the event that responsibility for abortion is devolved to the Scottish Parliament through the Scotland Bill.

Support for abortion to “remain legal and available in Scotland” was broadly consistent across the gender divide, with 76.3 per cent of men saying they were happy with the existing laws as well as 75.1 per cent of women.

Ann Henderson, STUC assistant secretary and a member of the Abortion Rights Committee Scotland  said: “This opinion poll reinforces our view that there is widespread support for safe, legal access to abortion services.

“In Scotland, more than 98 per cent of terminations are provided directly through the NHS. The care, attention and support for women and their families is second to none.

“This poll gives us confidence that, whatever happens with the decision on the devolution of abortion law, the future will be built on improving services for women, across the whole range of family planning, including abortion services.”

The Abortion Rights Committee Scotland previously added its name to an open letter from thirteen women’s rights organisations laying out their opposition to the devolution of abortion, citing the risk of inconsistent laws north and south of the border.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has previously said she saw no need to change the law.

In May, the Daily Record revealed that the Labour Party had threatened to walk out of the cross-party Smith Commission devolution talks last year after Green and Liberal Democrat representatives proposed the devolution of abortion.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell has previously said he does not “consider it is appropriate to devolve abortion at this time”.

Photo credit: Engender Scotland CC BY-NC 2.0.