Roe v Wade: Campaigners and Monica Lennon highlight women's experiences should be prioritised during abortion summit in Scotland after agenda leaked
There are calls for women’s experiences to be held “front and centre” during an emergency summit on abortion care in Scotland after the Roe versus Wade decision was announced.
The summit, entitled Abortion Care in Scotland, was organised after Scottish Labour MSP Monica Lennon wrote to Nicola Sturgeon raising concerns over the rise in anti-abortion protests outside hospitals and clinics in Scotland this year.
The emergency summit was initially welcomed by campaigners, but the release of an agenda document has fuelled fears of “lived experiences” not being prioritised.
Lasting for three-and-a-half hours, the event will include speeches from Ms Sturgeon and women’s health minister Maree Todd and NHS representatives.
Other speakers include Gillian Mackay, who has brought forward a member’s bill on implementing buffer zones, a Northern Ireland politician and a representative from the Scottish Human Rights Commission.
Although the programme offers space for “discussion”, the campaign group Back Off Scotland, which promotes introducing buffer zones, said it was “disappointed” in the agenda.
Lucy Grieve, the group’s co-founder, said: “After seeing the agenda, a number of the letter’s co-signatories feel as though the summit is set to be a preformative event, with the voices of campaigners airbrushed from the agenda.
“Nicola Sturgeon promised this would be a forum in which concerns about all aspects of abortion care in Scotland would be raised.
"It therefore seems somewhat odd that the women’s health minister, Maree Todd, is scheduled ten minutes before closing remarks to discuss all of the other issues plaguing abortion policy in Scotland, with no chance to ask questions or discuss. It’s clear that the Scottish Government are not interested in listening to the voices of campaigners and organisations that support those that have to run the gauntlet of their poor policy choices.”
Ms Lennon told The Scotsman she empathised with Back Off Scotland’s concerns, but wanted to “wait and see” what was discussed.
She said: “Lived experiences should be front and centre of this.
"It is welcome and significant the First Minister is holding the summit. My hope is that action points will be agreed on.”
An official spokesperson for Ms Sturgeon said people with lived experiences would have the chance to make their voices heard during the summit.
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