Press release – Abortion numbers highest ever, following introduction of ‘DIY’ abortion scheme

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Abortion numbers highest ever, following introduction of ‘DIY’ abortion scheme

10 September 2020 – Abortion statistics released by the Department of Health and Social Care this morning show that 109,836 abortions were performed for English and Welsh residents in the 6 months between 1 January and 30 June 2020. This is 4,296 higher than the figure for the first six months of 2019, which was 105,540. 2019 saw the highest number of abortions ever recorded in England and Wales over a full year, at 200,608.

This significant rise in abortions coincides with the Government’s temporary measure allowing ‘DIY’ home abortions in the UK. Since ‘DIY’ home abortions were introduced, a number of significant problems have arisen. According to a leaked “urgent email” sent by a regional chief midwife at NHS England and NHS Improvement on the “escalating risks” of ‘DIY’ home abortions, two women have died after taking ‘DIY’ home abortion pills. 

The Government has announced that it will be launching a consultation on whether to end this temporary measure.

The 2020 interim figures show that: 

  • 109,836 abortions were performed for English and Welsh residents in the 6 months between 1 January and 30 June 2020. This is 4,296 higher than the first figure for the first six months of 2019, which was 105,540. 
    • This significant rise in abortions coincides with the temporary measures allowing ‘DIY’ home abortions in the UK. Since ‘DIY’ home abortions were introduced, a number of significant problems have arisen.
    • According to a leaked “urgent email” sent by a regional chief midwife at NHS England and NHS Improvement on the “escalating risks” of ‘DIY’ home abortions, two women have died after taking ‘DIY’ home abortion pills.
    • The email leak also revealed police have opened a murder investigation into the death of a baby who they believe was born alive despite her mother taking ‘DIY’ home abortion pills. 
    • A nationwide undercover investigation found evidence of abortion providers putting women at significant risk by not carrying out basic checks before sending them ‘DIY’ home abortion pills.
    • In May, it was revealed UK police were investigating the death of an unborn baby after their mother took ‘DIY’ home abortion pills while 28 weeks pregnant.
    • In addition, abortion provider BPAS announced that it was investigating a further eight cases of women taking ‘DIY’ home abortion pills beyond the 10-week limit, raising questions over what checks are being conducted to ensure the law isn’t being broken and dangerous later-term abortions aren’t happening. 
    • A number of women have also come forward to share the serious problems they’ve experienced after taking ‘DIY’ home abortion pills.

In response to the general figures, spokesperson for Right to Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“It is a national tragedy that 109,836 lives were lost to abortion between January and June 2020. This is 4,296 higher than the figure for the first six months of 2019, which was 105,540. The year of 2019 saw the highest number of abortions ever recorded in England and Wales, at 200,608 over the full year.

“Every one of these abortions represents a failure of our society to protect the lives of babies in the womb and a failure to offer full support to women with unplanned pregnancies. 

“This year we’ve come together as a nation and made great sacrifices to protect the vulnerable from Covid-19. Sadly, at the very same time as protecting one group of vulnerable people, we as society have also ended thousands of young vulnerable lives through abortion.

“This significant rise in abortions coincides with the temporary measures allowing ‘DIY’ home abortions in the UK. Since the UK Government permitted ‘DIY’ home abortions, stories of illegal late-term abortions and safety abuses have come to light.

“We, along with other pro-life campaigners, warned it was only a matter of time before a woman died as a result of a ‘DIY’ home abortion. Tragically, that has been the case with two women having their lives ended along with tens of thousands of babies losing their lives under the Government’s home abortion scheme.

“These cases and the thirteen ongoing investigations are likely only the tip of the iceberg, given the date of the leaked email.

“Abortion providers, such as BPAS and Marie Stopes International, who want to keep ‘DIY’ home abortions on a permanent basis, are unlikely to want to reveal how many complications or serious incidents have arisen as a result of their ‘services’.

“There are also likely many more incidents that abortion providers don’t know about as the majority of women are not likely to 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 ‘DIY’ home abortion schemes should be suspended immediately.”

ENDS

Press release – Scotland abortion numbers rise to second-highest ever on record

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press release – Scotland abortion numbers rise to second-highest ever on record

Abortion statistics released by Public Health Scotland show that the number of abortions carried out in Scotland reached the second highest number on record last year. 

Official figures showed there were 13,583 terminations carried out in 2019 – the highest total since 2008 and an increase of 297 from 2018 when there were 13,286 abortions.

Almost half of medical terminations in 2019 involved self-administration of misoprostol in the home setting. This is the second stage of treatment for early medical terminations; the first drug (mifepristone) has been taken at the clinic. The figure rose from 29.9% in 2018 to 49.3% last year, and is likely to increase further when 2020 statistics are published due to a change in guidance allowing the self-administration of both mifepristone and misoprostol in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The repeat abortion rate for 2019 was 4.4 per 1,000 women ages 15-44, up from a rate of 3.5 per women aged 15-44 in 2010. In total, 34% of abortions in 2019 were repeat abortions.

The statistics also reveal 581 terminations for women over the age of 40 – the highest number in this age group since abortion became legal in 1967.

Last year, there was a rise in the number of young women having abortions, with 1834 abortions in those under 20, up from 1829 in 2018.

While the teenage pregnancy rate has fallen from 34 per 1000 women in 2014 to 30 per 1000 women in 2018, the proportion of teenage pregnancies that ended in termination between 1994 and 2018 increased from around a third (33.1%) to just under half (46.5%).

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“Sadly, the number of abortions taking place in Scotland has reached the second highest number on record. Every one of these 13,583 abortions is a tragic loss of life. 

“Even worse, that number could climb even higher.

“A change of guidelines in 2018, which allows women to take the second set of abortion pills involved in a medical abortion out of clinical settings accounted for nearly 50% of medical abortions in 2019. This is up from nearly 30% in 2018, but is likely to further increase next year when 2020 statistics are published due to a change in guidance allowing ‘DIY’ home abortions in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Additionally, abortion activists continue to push for the removal of all safeguards in abortion law and want to see abortion available on demand, right up to the point of birth.

“Polling shows large majorities of women in the UK support changes to our abortion laws that would have a positive impact on lowering the number of abortions. 70% of women want the current time limit on abortion to be lowered and 91% of women want a ban on sex-selective abortion.

“We are calling on the Scottish Government to urgently bring forward sensible new restrictions and increased support for women with unplanned pregnancies. This would ensure we were working together as a society to reduce the tragic number of abortions that happen each year.

ENDS

Press release – Pro-life victory as major attempt to hijack Domestic Abuse Bill with extreme abortion amendments fails

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Pro-life victory as major attempt to hijack Domestic Abuse Bill with extreme abortion amendments fails


An attempt to hijack the UK Government’s flagship Domestic Abuse Bill with two extreme abortion proposals has failed, in a major pro-life victory. 

The Speaker of the House, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, announced this afternoon that amendment New Clause 29, which would have introduced abortion for any reason up to 28 weeks, would not be selected for debate.

Diana Johnson MP then, this evening, announced that she would be withdrawing amendment New Clause 28 which would have allowed both medical and surgical abortions to take place in any location if a woman is in an abusive relationship.

If Diana Johnson had pushed the amendment to a vote and lost, this would have been the first time that a pro-abortion amendment or Bill had been defeated in a vote in UK history. 

It appears that the abortion lobby realised that it was very likely that Diana Johnson’s amendment was going to be defeated and encouraged the Labour MP to instead withdraw the amendment. 

Pro-life MP Fiona Bruce MP put forward an amendment calling for a review of the current temporary measures allowing ‘DIY’ abortions. This called for the Government to conduct an “an inquiry into the safety, number, and impact of abortions carried out under the temporary coronavirus crisis provisions where the place of abortion was the woman’s home”.

The Government subsequently agreed to a full inquiry into the temporary ‘DIY’ abortion measures.

A large number of MPs in the debate this evening spoke out against these attempts to hijack the Domestic Abuse Bill with extreme abortion amendments. This included stirring speeches from Fiona Bruce MP and Carla Lockhart MP, along with a number of MPs who don’t agree with the pro-life position on abortion but made it clear that the amendment was poorly drafted and would have had serious negative consequences for women in domestic abuse scenarios.

Amendment New Clause 28 would have allowed both medical and surgical abortions to take place in any location if a woman is in an abusive relationship. This amendment went far beyond the temporary measures that allow ‘DIY’ home telemedicine abortions, by making both medical and surgical abortions legal outside of a hospital or place approved by the Secretary of State. Current temporary measures allowing the home use of abortion pills are limited to 9 weeks and 6 days’ gestation for safety reasons. There was no similar time limit outlined in this amendment.

Amendment New Clause 29 would have made extreme changes to abortion legislation by repealing sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act. This would have left England and Wales with no abortion law through to 28 weeks. Almost all current legal safeguards on abortion would have been removed, up until when a child is capable of being born alive, with a ceiling of 28 weeks. This would have introduced abortion on demand, for any reason (including sex-selective abortion) up to 28 weeks. The change would have been the most extreme change to abortion legislation since 1967 and would have left England and Wales with one of the most extreme abortion laws in the world. 

The failed proposals were radically out of step with the opinions of women on abortion. Polling from Savanta ComRes on whether time limits for abortion should be increased shows that only 1% of women wanted the time limit to be extended; in contrast, 70% of women favour a reduction in time limits. The polling also showed that 77% of women agree that doctors should be required to verify in person that a patient seeking an abortion is not under pressure from a third party to undergo the abortion, and 91% of women agree that gender-selective abortion should be explicitly banned by the law.

Spokesperson for Right to Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“This is a major victory for the unborn child and women facing unplanned pregnancies. These amendments would have left the unborn child with considerably worse protections and removed many of the current safeguards which protect women facing unplanned pregnancies.

“Thank you to the thousands of people that rallied over the last week to get friends and family to email their MPs. MPs received more emails ahead of this vote than they have ever received ahead of an abortion vote.

“Thank you to the amazing group of pro-life MPs in Parliament who have worked so hard to ensure that these extreme amendments were defeated. 

“Thank you to the large number of organisations that have all come together to encourage their supporters to contact MPs and ensure this major attempt to introduce extreme abortion changes was defeated.

ENDS

  • For additional quotes and media interviews contact email press@righttolife.org.uk 
  • For further information on Right To Life UK visit www.righttolife.org.uk
  • SavantaComRes interviewed 2,008 British adults online between 12th and 14th May 2017. Data was weighted to be representative of all GB adults. SavantaComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
  • For further information on the extensive changes that NC29 would have introduced, please see this briefing: https://bit.ly/amendment-briefing-july

Press release – Campaigners relieved abortion censorship zone motion very unlikely to become law

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Campaigners relieved abortion censorship zone motion very unlikely to become law

Campaigners are relieved that a radical abortion clinic censorship zone motion brought forward by Dr Rupa Huq, that passed by 213 to 47 votes, is very unlikely to become law.

The motion seeks to introduce censorship zones around abortion clinics in England and Wales. However, as it is a Ten Minute Rule Motion it is very unlikely it will be given further time by the Government to be debated in Parliament. It is even less likely that it will become law.

Censorship zones would effectively ban volunteers from offering practical and emotional support to women entering abortion clinics across England and Wales. They would also ban individuals from peacefully praying in the vicinity of clinics.

In 2017, former Home Secretary Amber Rudd launched a review into the scale and nature of pro-life vigils outside abortion clinics to establish if the Government would recommend the introduction of censorship zones. In the investigation continued by the succeeding Home Secretary Sajid Javid, over 2,500 responded to a call for evidence, including abortion service providers, abortion service clients, those engaging in anti-abortion demonstrations, police forces and local authorities.

In 2018, Sajid Javid announced that the Home Office did not find adequate reason to introduce censorship zones, stating that: “…introducing national buffer zones would not be a proportionate response, considering the experiences of the majority of hospitals and clinics, and considering that the majority of activities are more passive in nature. In making my decision, I am also aware that legislation already exists to restrict protest activities that cause harm to others.”

Opposition to censorship zones goes beyond pro-life advocates to a large part of society, which may not agree on the pro-life position on abortion, but oppose censorship zones because they infringe on free speech.

A number of prominent human rights groups and campaigners, all of whom support abortion, have also spoken out against the introduction of censorship zones. This includes Peter Tatchell, the Manifesto Club, Big Brother Watch, Index on Censorship and the Freedom Association.

The Be Here for Me website highlights just some of the many stories of women who have been helped by people outside abortion clinics, and the stories of future women who could miss out on such support in the future. 

One mother who who kept her daughter as a result of the pro-life support she received outside an abortion clinic, in Ealing, will soon challenge the use of ‘criminalised free speech zones’ at the European Court of Human Rights.

Alina Dulgheriu launched the legal challenge because she wants other potential mothers to receive the same practical and emotional support she was offered – support which led to her keeping her daughter, Sarah.

Spokesperson for Right to Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“As this vote was on a Ten Minute Rule Motion, it is very unlikely it will be given further time by the Government to be debated in Parliament. It is even less likely that it will become law.

“By attempting to restrict where women facing unplanned pregnancies can receive compassionate emotional and practical support, the ‘pro-choice’ lobby are removing real choice for women and revealing they’re really just pro-abortion.

“Today, many babies are alive because their mothers were able to get the help they needed outside of an abortion clinic.

“We would, therefore, encourage the Government not to give this Bill any more time.  In doing so they would send a clear signal that women should not be denied the choice of life-saving support for them and their baby.”

ENDS