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At Home Abortion (Review) Bill receives First Reading

A Bill that will require the Government to conduct a review into the risks associated with at-home medical abortions in which a woman self-administers a medical abortion outside of a clinical setting has been launched in the House of Lords.

This afternoon, as one of the three pro-life bills drawn in the Lords Private Members’ Bills ballot earlier this month, Baroness Eaton’s At Home Early Medical Abortion (Review) Bill received its First Reading.

The Bill specifically requires the Government to review whether in-person medical appointments, during which the gestational age of the pregnancy can be accurately determined before an at-home abortion occurs, should be reinstated.

The launch of the Bill coincides with the tabling of a motion in the House of Commons that “calls on the Government to reinstate in-person medical appointments before abortion pills may be prescribed to determine the gestational age of a baby and to ensure women seeking abortion are not facing coercion”.

There is growing momentum for reinstatement of in-person appointments to verify gestational age, especially in the wake of a recent deeply disturbing case where the abortion provider, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, sent out abortion pills to a woman whose baby, Lily, was at least 32 weeks gestation. The case would not have happened had the gestation of baby Lily been accurately identified by ultrasound or a physical examination during an in-person appointment. If this appointment had taken place, the gestation of the baby would have been accurately identified and abortion could not have taken place.

For the first time yesterday, pro-abortion campaigner Stella Creasy acknowledged “that perhaps the move towards telemedicine“, which she championed, was the reason that more cases of women performing late-term abortions at home are occurring.

Serious health concerns

Government data released earlier this week demonstrates that self-performing a late-term medical abortion away from a clinical environment without in-person medical supervision puts the lives of women at considerable risk.

 The data shows that a medical abortion performed at 20 weeks and over has a complication rate 160 times that of an abortion under 10 weeks. The complication rate is likely to be much higher for women performing their own abortions at home without medical supervision well beyond the current 24-week time limit.

Rather than supporting the reinstatement of in-person appointments that would prevent women’s lives from being put at risk, abortion campaigners have tabled two extreme amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill that would remove offences that make it illegal to perform a self-abortion right through to birth.

This would lead to a worsening of the situation, with a likely sharp increase in the number of women performing late-term abortions at home and the lives of many more women being endangered.

Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said: “This Bill specifically requires the Government to review whether in-person medical appointments, to accurately determine the gestational age of the pregnancy before an at-home abortion occurs, should be reinstated”.

“Recent illegal late-term abortions of viable unborn babies would not have been able to occur had in-person appointments to accurately assess gestational age been required”. 

“The clear solution here is the urgent reinstatement of in-person appointments. This would prevent women’s lives from being put at risk from self-administered late-term abortions”.

“Abortion campaigners have tabled two extreme amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill that would remove offences that make it illegal to perform a self-abortion right through to birth, which would likely make the situation far worse”. 

“We are calling on MPs to reject these proposals from pro-abortion MPs that would likely lead to a sharp increase in the number of women performing late-term abortions at home and the lives of many more women being endangered”.

“We are also calling on the Government to urgently reinstate in-person medical appointments before abortion pills are prescribed, in order to determine the gestational age of a baby and to ensure that women seeking abortion are not facing coercion.”

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