"Scotland's most senior Roman Catholic has urged the Scottish Executive to put pressure on Westminster to change the laws on abortion. Cardinal Keith O'Brien spoke out after delivering a sermon in which he claimed the existing legislation was founded on "lies and misinformation". He also warned Catholic politicians that they should not take Holy Communion if they support the Abortion Act, which was passed exactly 40 years ago."For the SNP to blandly point out that abortion is a matter reserved for the Westminster Parliament simply won't do because they don't approve of the situation where certain matters are reserved for Westminster.
I don't remember Salmond making any similarly anodyne responses when the topic of Iraq was discussed during the election. The Scottish parliament does not have control over the military but that didn't stop the SNP selling their platform on the basis of how things would look if they did.
So I think we're entitled to know what they would like the legal situation with regards to abortion to be in an independent Scotland.
It would be even better if they could make it clear that they believe these matters should be decided by elected politicians voting according to their own consciences rather than unelected clerics attempting to impose theirs. But they won't, of course - either because they don't believe this or because they do, but are too feart to say so.
Update: From the Scotsman:
""I have no difficulty with the Catholic Church expressing a view. What I do have a difficulty with is saying if you do not support those views there is a penalty: in this case questioning the right of a politician and practising Catholic to attend Communion - that is taking us into unchartered territory. Abortion is just a side issue in the debate the cardinal has initiated. What is next? Trident? The Iraq war?"
- Jim Devine, MP for Livingston, is Catholic but supports women's right to choose."