- New policy allows home abortions
- Human rights experts criticise intransparent decision
LONDON (31 March 2020) – This week, the UK Government has amended abortion regulations to allow women to take abortion pills at home after a telephone consultation with a doctor. This came after the government had initially said just last week that it would not allow the change due to safety and safeguarding concerns. The changes are the most significant change to abortion in England since the Abortion Act was passed in 1967. The amendment, controversially, comes without public consultation or parliamentary debate or scrutiny.
“As a society we should support all pregnant women, especially those in difficult circumstances. No mother should ever be made to feel that she is alone and without hope. Allowing unsupervised home abortions puts women across the UK at risk of going through a difficult experience without much needed care, support, and medical expertise. Additionally, the risk of abortions being forced rises significantly if allowed at home. Rather than permitting this, especially in this time of crisis, the government should be using its resources to support both mother and child. We all want a society in which parents feel able to welcome their children into the world,” said Ryan Christopher, Senior Policy Officer for ADF International in London.
Vulnerable women put most at risk
The abortion law in the United Kingdom states that abortions must take place in licensed clinics, providers, or hospitals. After increased pressure from abortion providers, the government announced that home abortions are permitted during the corona crisis after initially ruling it out. The new regulations raise concerns around abuse of home abortions and the physical and mental health of women who undergo an abortion alone at home.
“Exposing vulnerable women to home abortions is a decision which has been taken much too lightly by the government. This exception to the abortion law could have a long-lasting effect on how abortion is handled in the United Kingdom, leaving those who are most vulnerable at most risk If abortion providers thought the law needed changing, there are proper and democratic ways to approach this,” said Robert Clarke, Deputy Director of ADF International.