Action alert – Ask your MLAs to vote to oppose abortion up to birth for Down’s syndrome in Northern Ireland

Thank you to everyone who has written to their MPs asking them to support the Abortion (Cleft Lip, Cleft Palate and Clubfoot) Bill, which seeks to clarify that cleft palate, cleft lip, and clubfoot are not grounds for abortion in the UK.

As you may have seen, there has been a lot of media coverage around the Bill along with much interest on social media. If you haven’t already, please do email your MP asking them to support the Bill.

VERY GOOD NEWS

A large number of people in Northern Ireland wrote to their MLAs asking them to break the silence at the Northern Ireland Assembly on the British Government forcing abortion regulations on Northern Ireland.

The floods of emails and contact from constituents has been accompanied by further coverage of disability campaigner Heidi Crowter’s call for MLAs to take action and do everything they can to oppose abortion on the basis of disability up to birth.

Thanks to all this pressure, it has now been announced that this silence will be broken next Tuesday and the Northern Ireland Assembly will be debating and voting on the following motion:

“That this Assembly welcomes the important intervention of disability campaigner Heidi Crowter and rejects the imposition of abortion legislation which extends to all non-fatal disabilities, including Down’s syndrome.”

TAKE ACTION

While a vote on this motion may not change the law at this stage, it will send a very important message to the British Government and MPs who are due to vote on these regulations in June.

We now need everyone who lives in Northern Ireland to urgently contact their MLAs and ask them to vote for this motion on Tuesday.

If you live in Northern Ireland, please click the button below to email your local MLAs on this now. It only takes 30 seconds.

Once you have emailed your MLAs, please do let friends and family know to email their local MLAs.  

Thank you for your help on this.

More women speak out about ‘DIY’ home abortion serious problems with telemedicine abortion service

More women have come forward to share the serious problems they’ve experienced after taking ‘DIY’ home abortion pills.

One woman said she went through “hell” and thought she was going to die after taking the dangerous pills.

Another woman said the pain and physical process was “horrible” and “a lot worse than expected”.

In the biggest change to abortion law since 1967, the UK Government announced on 30 March it would temporarily allow ‘DIY’ home abortions.

The very substantial change, which was made without any public consultation, parliamentary scrutiny or debate, will last for the next two years or until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

It means women across the UK are now left to deliver their own dead unborn child at home without direct medical supervision.

‘I thought I was going to die’

Recalling her experience, one woman told the Mail she was surprised by just how relaxed the abortion process was, with seemingly no reliable checks on how far into the pregnancy she was or of her psychological wellbeing.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, she said the pills left her in such pain she was convinced she was going to die.

“I was asked on the phone before I went to the clinic what my reasons were for having a termination, but that was it,” she says.

“I wasn’t ready. It all seemed so fast. I was expecting to speak to lots of people, to be offered counselling.

“It didn’t feel like a medical procedure. It took me less time to sort out than to do my Asda shopping.”

The woman took the first Mifepristone tablet on 9 May. Then on 10 May, she took four Misoprostol tablets.

She said: “I understood I was going to have cramps, but I didn’t realise just how bad it was going to be,’ she says.

“Two hours after I took the tablets, I started bleeding. I didn’t look because I knew it would really upset me.

“About six hours later the pain was unbearable. I was lying on my bathroom floor, curled in a ball. I was sweating, my temperature was 39.8, I couldn’t move.

“I had diarrhoea, I was being sick, I was shivering, shaking, sweating. I thought I was going to die.

“The next day I felt really sick, faint and dizzy. I’m still bleeding even now, a few weeks on. Because my partner is here and doesn’t know what I did, I’ve not been able to ring anyone for any advice.

“I felt ill or four or five days afterwards. My partner thought I had Covid. I dread to think of how many teenage girls have gone through this during the pandemic.”

‘It was a lot worse than I’d expected’

Like the anonymous woman, Courtney Barnes revealed the pain was a lot worse than what she’d expected.

Following a telephone call with abortion provider Marie Stopes International, she was sent the ‘DIY’ home abortion kit – consisting of abortion pills, a strip of the painkiller codeine, a pregnancy test and an instruction leaflet.

On the day she received the ‘kit’ she took the first pill, Mifepristone. The next evening, Courtney took the second set of pills, Misoprostol.

“I’d been warned it would be painful, so I did it after I’d put the children to bed,” she says.

“It kicked in straight away and was all over and done with within a few hours, it was quite painful — really strong cramping.

“You do pass a lot of blood and I was warned I might see the foetus, so I sat on the toilet and didn’t look.

“I ended up lying in the bath trying to keep the pains at bay and I didn’t get much sleep that night. It was a lot worse than I’d expected. The pain, the physical process was horrible.

“Although I didn’t want to continue the pregnancy, I hated the thought of just flushing it away.”

According to the Mail, there was no routine follow-up call with a doctor or nurse to check how things had gone, just a text a couple of weeks later reminding her to use her pregnancy test.

Now three weeks after taking the ‘DIY’ abortion pills and conducting two pregnancy tests, which both showed up as positive, Courtney has revealed she may still be pregnant.

She has booked an ultrasound with Marie Stopes International which is due to take place next week.

Tragically, Courtney told the Mail she will have a surgical termination if she is still pregnant.

She added: “I was warned the pregnancy could continue, but I hadn’t considered that as a possibility, and because of the pain and blood, I’d felt that the procedure had been successful.

“I’m feeling very anxious and just want to know what’s going on.”

‘A huge burden to carry’

Lynn Large, a 63-year-old retired midwife who had an abortion when she was 20 but has since become involved with spreading the pro-life message, fears for those who may underestimate the emotional turmoil an abortion can leave – even decades later.

“Women are told that abortion is as easy as taking a few pills, but it’s much bigger than that, and once you have made that decision, you are never free of it,” she says.

“The thought of women having to go through an abortion alone during this time of lockdown is disturbing and will be, I believe, a huge burden for them to carry throughout their lives.”

Further cases of negligence

The testimonies of these women have arrived in the same week it was revealed UK police are investigating the death of an unborn baby after its mother took ‘DIY’ home abortion pills while 28 weeks pregnant.

In this instance the ‘DIY’ abortion pills were mailed under BPAS’ “pills by post” ‘service’ 18 weeks past the 10-week cut off for ‘DIY’ home abortions and four weeks past the 24-week time limit for most abortions in the UK.

Additionally, a further eight cases of women taking ‘DIY’ home abortion pills beyond the 10-week limit are also being looked into, raising questions over what checks are being conducted to ensure the law isn’t being broken and dangerous later-term abortions aren’t happening.  

Concerns have been raised that allowing ‘DIY’ abortions opens women and children up to coerced abortions and makes it easier for men to gain access to dangerous abortion drugs – particularly when it has become apparent necessary safety checks aren’t being carried out.  

Previously, abortions could only take place in hospitals or abortion clinics approved by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. Two doctors would also need to certify any subsequent termination did not breach the terms of the 1967 Abortion Act.

Under the new temporary policy, doctors will be able to prescribe mifepristone and misoprostol over the phone or video platforms such as Facetime or Skype, meaning they will be left to pass their unborn child at home without direct medical supervision.

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“These testimonies, the tragic case of the baby aborted at 28 weeks, and the eight more that are being investigated show that telemedicine abortion services are endangering the lives of women and being used to illegally abort babies after our 24-week abortion time limit. 

“It looks like it will be a matter of time before a woman dies while trying to pass a baby late in pregnancy at home using a telemedicine abortion service. 

“We are calling on the Government to immediately revoke the dangerous decision to allow DIY abortions and launch a full investigation.

“This case and the eight more that are being investigated are likely only the tip of the iceberg. It has not been revealed how many cases other big abortion providers are investigating. There are also likely many more that abortion providers don’t know about as the majority of women are likely to not come back and tell an abortion provider that they have broken the law using their service or weren’t even aware how far along they were, given they have not had an ultrasound.

“These cases show that the services are placing the lives of women at risk. The UK Government must immediately repeal their decision to allow these services to operate, to protect the health and safety of thousands of women across the country.” 

One father performed ‘DIY’ home abortions on his daughter and stepdaughter to cover up 14 years of sexual abuse.

Last week, a woman and her unborn baby died after taking ‘DIY’ home abortion drugs.

According to the Mumbai Mirror, the woman’s husband, with the help of his parents and a friend, obtained the abortion drugs from a medical representative – all have now been “booked” with an intent to cause miscarriage by police in the Indian region of Kashimira.

In the UK, a legal challenge against ‘DIY’ home abortions has been launched by the Christian Legal Centre.

The case, which is backed by a healthcare professional and former Government minister Ann Widdecombe, suffered a setback this week when the High Court upheld the UK Government’s decision to allow ‘DIY’ home abortions.The Christian Legal Centre have announced they will appeal the decision.