NICOLA Sturgeon is expected to apologise to women who were historically forced to give up their babies for adoption, reports say.

Following her announcement to stand down as First Minister, it could be one of Sturgeon’s last acts in office and is expected sometime next week, the Daily Record reports.

Previously, the FM issued a formal posthumous apology to those killed under the infamous Witchcraft Act 1563, the majority of whom were women.

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And now, Sturgeon is allegedly set to say sorry to tens of thousands of women who were affected by harmful historic rules around adoption.

It’s understood that around 60,000 mothers had babies adopted simply because they were unmarried.

Scottish Labour’s Monica Lennon, who campaigned on the issue and challenged the FM to offer up an apology last year, said that if reports are true it would be a “significant moment” in Scotland.

She added: “Tens of thousands of women in Scotland had their babies taken from them as a result of forced adoption practices.

“We refer to this as a historic act but the injustice has never faded for those affected.

“It is right that Nicola Sturgeon makes a formal apology on behalf of the Scottish Government. We cannot fully learn from the past unless we acknowledge it.

“I pay tribute to all the campaigners who have fought for a historic forced adoption apology. This will be an incredibly emotional event.”

In June 2021, MSPs debated the issue of a government apology in Holyrood, sponsored by Lennon. It read: “Notes the view that the UK and Scottish governments should follow the lead of the Australian Government in 2013, by taking responsibility for the policies and practices that forced the separation of mothers from their babies, and further notes calls for the Scottish Government to initiate an inquiry regarding the practice in Scotland, acknowledge to the public through a formal apology that there had been wrongdoings and ensure that support is available to women and families in Central Scotland and across the country who have had to live with the consequences of the actions of government in the past.”

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Australia became the first government in the world to issue a formal apology for the policy of forced adoption and take responsibility for the harrowing practice. The Canadian senate recommended a similar apology be made by the country’s federal government to 300,000 women in 2020.

And, in January this year, Irish Taoiseach Michael Martin, apologised to former mother and baby home residents in Ireland for the way they had been treated.

Asked about an apology during FMQs in 2021, Sturgeon said she was “very committed” to considering the matter properly.