Johnstone welcomes Scot Gov comment on abortions for women from Northern Ireland

Alison Johnstone MSP, Health spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, tonight (4 July) welcomed comments from the Scottish Government that it believes women from Northern Ireland should be able to access an abortion for free in Scotland.

According to a newspaper report, Scottish Ministers will "set out shortly how that can be achieved."

The issue was originally raised by Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie at First Minister's Questions last November, with Alison Johnstone writing to the public health minister seeking an update three weeks ago.

It follows the UK government saying last week it would start to fund the procedures in England. Northern Ireland's laws make it almost impossible to have an abortion there. 

Alison said:

"I'm pleased the Scottish Government agrees with Greens that the stress and costs that women in Northern Ireland face are unacceptable. Scotland has a chance to provide much-needed support. This is about trusting women to decide what is best for them.

"I look forward to the public health minister replying to me with details of how Scotland will provide free access to abortion for women from Northern Ireland, and I will continue to urge Scottish Ministers to consult on decriminalising abortion."

Wales and Scotland offer free abortions to women from Northern Ireland (Guardian, 4 July):

Patrick's FMQ (17 November):

Alison's letter to the public health minister (16 June):