Publication - FOI/EIR release

Communication held with specific organisations regarding abortion: FOI release

Published: 5 Jul 2021

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Published:
5 Jul 2021
Communication held with specific organisations regarding abortion: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100210660
Date received: 3 Jun 2021
Date responded: 2 Jul 2021
Information requested

To ask the Health Protection Division at the Scottish Government to outline whether the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, her special advisor or any other official within her Department, has met with or communicated with (by phone, letter, email, or any other communication method) any other following groups or individuals with regard to the issue of abortion since the 1st of March 2020. If any communication has been made, can I ask for copies of the contents of the communications in whatever form they may have taken, including any meeting minutes from meetings that may have occurred:

  • British Pregnancy Advisory Service
  • Amnesty International
  • Marie Stopes International
  • National Unplanned Pregnancy Advisory Service.
Response

In response to your query, neither the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, her special advisor, nor other Health Ministers have met or communicated with any of the four organisations listed above in relation to abortion since 1 March 2020.

Scottish Government officials have only had one meeting specifically with any of these organisations since 1 March 2020 covering abortion – that was a catch-up meeting with MSI Reproductive Choices, held in June 2021. However, officials had a meeting with Back Off Scotland in May 2021, which Back Off Scotland also invited a representative of BPAS to attend.There were no minutes taken at either of these meetings.

The Scottish Government has no record of any communications with either Amnesty International or the National Unplanned Pregnancy Advisory Service on the subject of abortion since 1 March 2020.

However, officials have had communications with the British Pregnancy Advisory Service and Marie Stopes International (now MSI Reproductive Choices). I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested at Annex B.

In addition, some of the information you have requested is available from the following sources – these are consultation responses from BPAS and MSI to the Scottish Government consultation on early medical abortion at home:

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because exemptions under sections 30(c) (prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs), 33(1)(b) (commercial interests) and 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why those exemptions apply are explained in Annex A.

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FOI202100210660 - Annex A/B/C

37 page PDF
1.5 MB

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG