Abortion law devolution to Scotland

Summary of Commons’ Report stage of Scotland Bill and devolving competence for abortion legislation

On 9 November 2015, the Scotland Bill 2015-16 completed its Report and third Reading stages in the House of Commons and now proceeds to the Lords. Among the 100-plus amendments to be considered in the day’s six-hour slot was Government new clause 15—Abortion which removes the specific reservation of abortion in part 2 of schedule 5 to the Scotland Act 1998 thereby devolving legislative competence on the subject-matter of abortion to the Scottish Parliament.

Although the amendment was passed by 350 votes to 183, it is worthwhile highlighting some of the arguments put forward in the limited time available for the debate, [HC Hansard 9 Nov 2015 Vol 602(67) Col 136]. More general points on the government’s approach to the Bill and the lack of time allocated for its scrutiny were made by Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire) (SNP), [Col 46]. Continue reading