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Pro-life campaigners challenge home abortion pill policy

The Society of the Protection of Unborn Children campaigns against abortion.

Abortion dispute: Women allowed to take pill outside clinical setting (file pic).
Abortion dispute: Women allowed to take pill outside clinical setting (file pic). Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Anti-abortion campaigners will launch a legal challenge against Scotland's top doctor over plans to allow women to end pregnancies at home.

John Deighan, chief executive of the Society of the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), said it has instructed its lawyers to prepare court papers calling for a judicial review.

It comes after Scotland's chief medical officer cleared the way for women to take the drug misoprostol outside a clinical setting for the first time.

Dr Catherine Calderwood said it was "significant progress" that women in Scotland up to nine weeks pregnant could take the second dose of the drug at home if they wanted.

However, Mr Deighan claimed: "There would be no medical oversight and this development will result in dreadful threats to women's health."

The SPUC claims it has received legal advice indicating that the medication could not be taken legally without some form of medical supervision.

Public health minister Aileen Campbell welcomed the move when it was announced in October.

"Abortion can be an emotive subject, however I am proud this government is working hard to ensure women are always able to access clinically safe services," she said.

"Scotland is now the only part of the UK to offer women the opportunity to take misoprostol at home when this is clinically appropriate, a decision that allows women to be in control of their treatment and as comfortable as possible during this procedure."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "We've worked hard to ensure women are always able to access clinically safe services.

"Scotland is the only part of the UK to offer women the opportunity to take misoprostol at home, when this is clinically appropriate, a decision that allows women to be in control of their treatment and as comfortable as possible during this procedure."

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