Abortion notifications and data: consultation analysis

Analysis of responses to a public consultation on the proposed changes to the requirements around statutory notifications of abortions in Scotland which must be sent to the Chief Medical Officer (CMO).

About the respondents and responses

5. The consultation was circulated to the Scottish Abortion Care Providers group and NHS Boards, to the one private abortion provider in Scotland and to other stakeholders with an interest, such as Public Health Scotland, the Information Commissioner's Office and groups representing women. The consultation received 35 responses, which included one response submitted via email following the closure of the consultation (where a deadline extension had been agreed in advance with the organisation concerned).

6. Responses were submitted by 15 organisations and 20 individuals.

7. Many individual respondents either indicated a clinical background or submitted responses from NHS email addresses; however it wasn't clear from all of the individual respondents that they were familiar with the abortion notification process. Organisational respondents included NHS organisations, including Public Health Scotland, private abortion care providers (not based in Scotland), faith organisations, pro-life groups, and women's groups.

8. A list of the organisational respondents is provided in Annex B of this report. For the purposes of analysis, the organisational respondents were grouped as below into categories, as shown in Table 1.1

Table 1.1
Category Number of respondents
Healthcare Providers (including NHS, Third Sector and Private) 8
Private company 1
Pro-life organisations 2
Faith organisations 2
Women's organisations 2
Total 15

Responses to individual questions

9. As shown in Table 1.2, most respondents answered all four questions.

Table 1.2
Question Number of responses
Q1. 35
Q2. 34
Q3. 33
Q4 33

10. All consultation questions included closed questions, but also provided optional 'free text' boxes for respondents to provide further information if they wished. Comments made in response to each question were analysed qualitatively. The aim was to identify the main themes and the full range of views expressed in relation to each question, together with areas of potential agreement or disagreement on the proposals. This analysis seeks to ensure that differing views from individuals and organisations are presented in a fair and balanced way.

11. It should be noted that throughout the consultation some responses offered alternative suggestions in answer to the questions and some simply indicated they agreed or disagreed, with no further comment.

12. Not all comments made in relation to each question were directly relevant to the question being posed. For example, providing comment or observation on other issues not directly covered in the consultation document, such as wider points regarding being opposed to abortion in all cases. Comments have only been considered as part of this analysis where they were relevant to the questions being asked or more broadly to notifications and data relating to abortions.


Email: AbortionConsultation@gov.scot

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