Abortion Services (Safe Access Zones) (Scotland) Bill: island communities impact assessment screening

Island communities impact assessment (ICIA) screening for the Abortion Services (Safe Access Zones) (Scotland) Bill.


Section 13 of the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018 obliges the Scottish Ministers to prepare an island communities impact assessment (ICIA) in relation to legislation which, in their opinion, is likely to have an effect on an island community which is significantly different from its effect on other communities in Scotland.

The Scottish Government’s Island Communities Impact Assessments guidance sets out four stages that must be undertaken prior to preparing an ICIA. These are:

a) Developing a clear understanding of the objectives and intended outcomes of the policy, strategy or service including any island needs or impacts

b) Gathering data, identifying evidence gaps and identifying stakeholders

c) Consulting with appropriate stakeholders

d) Assessing whether there are any issues resulting from the proposed policy that are significantly different from those that would be experienced on the mainland, or on other islands

If any significantly different impacts are identified, an ICIA will be required. This document seeks to set out the reasoning behind our view that there will not be a significantly different impact from this Bill, and therefore a full ICIA is not required.

Note on language

The Scottish Government recognises that abortion is an emotive issue, and that the language surrounding it, is itself a source of debate and a matter of considerable sensitivity. We have therefore taken this opportunity to highlight some particular choices adopted during this document, and to acknowledge that, in some instances, different groups would prefer to use other terms to refer to themselves. Nothing in this document is intended to overlook nuance or personal preferences; it is used instead for consistency and to, as far as possible, describe actions rather than motivations.

In particular, the terms service users and providers, as well as “those who access or provide services” are used instead of patients and staff. This reflects that not all those who seek abortion services consider themselves to be patients, though some do.

Similarly, the term “anti-abortion activity” is used as a catch-all to encompass the range of activity that takes place outside premises providing abortion services, and, as far as possible, we refer to groups or individuals which carry out anti-abortion activity. In choosing this phrasing, we recognise that some participants are motivated by a desire to offer support and highlight abortion alternatives rather than simply advocate against abortion, and that some groups prefer the term “pro-life”. The term anti-abortion is not intended to undermine or dismiss these motivations or the ways in which groups or individuals describe themselves. Rather, it recognises that the desired outcome of activities carried out directly outside places providing abortion services is often to prevent abortions taking place. “Anti-abortion activity”, in this context, is therefore an umbrella term that focuses on the sought outcome, and allows the full range of activity to be captured.


Email: abortionteam@gov.scot

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