Scotland politics

Abortion law 'could be devolved to Holyrood'

The Scottish and UK governments have held discussions on transferring control over abortion laws to the Scottish Parliament, it has emerged.

The issue was discussed as part of last year's Smith Commission on devolving more powers to Holyrood.

No agreement was reached and it was not included in the final report published in November.

Currently, rules governing abortion are a reserved issue and under Westminster control.

But Whitehall sources have confirmed to the BBC that discussions have taken place between the two governments on looking at the issue again.

Under current UK law, abortions can be carried out during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Procedures can only be carried out at hospitals or licensed clinics and two doctors must agree that an abortion would cause less damage to a woman's physical or mental health than continuing with the pregnancy.

In rare situations abortions can be carried out after 24 weeks, including if there is a risk to the mother's life, or if there is a substantial risk that the child would be born with serious physical or mental disabilities.

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