The Bishops of Scotland have highlighted the sanctity of life and the rights of the unborn in a statement released today (27 June).

It comes following recent public debate on abortion following the overturning of Roe vs Wade in America, which caused the deaths of millions of unborn children.

They say: “Whether we believe in anything spiritual or not, the life that each one of us lives is the only one we have, and to take life from the unborn, no matter how insignificant in size, cannot be right. "

'Profoundly important'

"The rights of a woman and the compassion and support due to her, and the circumstances of her pregnancy, are naturally of great concern to us, but an unborn life, once taken, can never be restored.

"This is what makes abortion such a profoundly important matter for all human beings.

“No matter what position we take, this belief in the profound importance of the issue is shared by us all.

"It is incumbent on us therefore to accept that deeply held and divergent opinions are at stake and that the conflict which arises from this should be handled with respect and civility.

“Those who do not believe human life begins at the moment of conception, invite the question: ‘when does it begin?’. While those who believe that it does, ask the question: ‘what right have we to take a unique and unrepeatable human life?’

“If we are to be the caring and compassionate society we aspire to be, upholding the sanctity and dignity of all human life must be the foundational principal upon which that aspiration rests.”

Supporting women

Paul Atkin, pro-life officer for the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh said: "The issue in Scotland is not that women cannot choose abortion but that too many women are left unsupported and feel abortion is the only choice available.

"According to Public Health Scotland abortion rates for women in most deprived areas are almost twice as high as in the least deprived areas.

"This suggests that many women are being forced into abortion by economic circumstances.

"We call on Scottish Government and any ‘pro-choice’ organisation to step up and do the hard work of supporting women who choose to keep their babies.

"Changing laws around abortion is a welcome first step in building a culture of life where no child is unwanted, no woman unloved and the pressures which lead to abortion no longer exist.

"We ask everyone to support the many crisis pregnancy services who provide free and long term support to mothers and their children including, in our Archdiocese, Stanton Healthcare East of Scotland."