UK: DIY Home Abortion Allowed During Coronavirus Crisis

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 31: Eleanor Crossey Malone displays an abortion pill packet after taking a pill as abortion rights campaign group ROSA, Reproductive Rights Against Oppression, Sexism and Austerity distribute abortion pills from a touring bus on May 31, 2018 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Flouting Northern Irish governmental …
Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

The UK government has bypassed parliament to enact emergency measures that will allow women to perform abortions at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, has approved a “temporary” change to the nation’s abortion laws, allowing women who are within the first ten weeks of their pregnancy to take abortion pills at home.

Under the previous law, women were required to have an in-person consultation with a doctor before being allowed to terminate a pregnancy. The updated law will allow doctors to send women two pregnancy terminating pills, mifepristone and misoprostol, following online or telephone consultation. The law will last for up to two years, or until the end of the crisis.

“We are updating our guidance so women who need an abortion up to ten weeks and can’t access a clinic can use abortion pills at home,” said a Department of Health and Social Care spokesman per The Sun.

“This will be on a temporary basis and must follow a telephone or e-consultation with a doctor,” the spokesman added.

The update to the law was celebrated by one of the country’s leading provider of abortion services, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), which wrote: “This service will not only support the thousands of women that would usually attend one of our clinics, it will also protect our staff and the many other people these women could come into contact with.”

The unilateral decision by the Health Ministry was slammed by the UK-based pro-life educational and caring charity Life.

“It is unconscionable that the Government is contradicting their stance, yet again, to allow women to be taking both stages of the medical abortion at home. It is an absolute disgrace that the abortion lobby should take advantage of the terrible situation we find ourselves in, with COVID-19, to instigate the biggest change to the Abortion Act (1967) we’ve seen in years, without any public consultation,” said Liz Parsons, the charity’s director of advocacy.

“At this time our nation is rightly focused on how we can protect vulnerable people and save as many lives as possible; a U-turn on this contradicts everything this lock-down stands for and pulls focus from what should be our priority – saving lives,” she added.

“The baby in the womb is one of the most vulnerable human beings in our society. We urge the Government to listen to its own advice and continue to put vulnerable people first,” Parsons concluded.

In 2018, abortion rates rose by four per cent in England and Wales, with 200,608 abortions being performed.

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