Scotland is to get its first private clinic specialising in “late-term” abortions because the NHS cannot cope with the hundreds of women requesting the controversial procedure.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) is setting up the clinic to carry out abortions on hundreds of women right up to the legal limit of 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Last year 377 Scots women travelled to private and NHS hospitals in England for abortions, many of them at 18 to 24 weeks of pregnancy, because few Scottish hospitals carry out the procedure at such a late stage.
Most cases involved women who wanted a termination for so-called social reasons where they did not want to give birth.
The clinic – which is due to open next year – is likely to be located in Glasgow or central Scotland and will also accept women from Northern Ireland, where abortion is illegal.
Ann Furedi, chief executive of BPAS, which carried out almost 200 late-stage abortions on Scottish women last year at its clinics in London and Doncaster, revealed there was a “huge unmet need” for the service, with more women referred for late-term abortions from its Glasgow-based counselling centre than from any of its 31 English referral centres.
a spokeswoman for the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child said: “Instead of such clinics being opened, would it not be preferable to concentrate on helping women in crisis pregnancies address their fears in a way that allows their child to be born?”
A spokesman for the Catholic Church said: “All abortion is wrong. However, late-term abortion is particularly traumatic. The implication of a private company providing abortion in Scotland is alarming.”
Full story at Scotland on Sunday.