Press release – Dangerous DIY abortions introduced, group calls to revoke decision immediately

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Dangerous DIY abortions introduced by Government without Parliamentary debate or scrutiny, group calls to revoke decision immediately

The Government have announced the biggest change to abortion provision since 1967, introducing telemedicine abortions where ‘DIY’ abortions will be performed at home by women on themselves without a doctor or other medical professional present. 

This is despite the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care saying “there are no proposals to change abortion rules” earlier in the week and the Department of Health making it very clear that there were significant safety and safeguarding issues for women and young girls with the proposal. 

The very substantial temporary change has been announced without any public consultation, parliamentary scrutiny or debate. The approval will expire “on the day on which the temporary provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020 expire, or the end of the period of 2 years beginning with the day on which it is made, whichever is earlier.”  

Previously abortions could only take place in hospitals or abortion clinics approved by the Secretary of State. Under the new policy, a single doctor will be able to prescribe abortion pills (mifepristone and misoprostol) over the phone or video (eg Facetime or Skype) and then women will perform their own abortion at home, by taking both abortion pills, meaning they will be left to pass their unborn child at home without direct medical supervision.

Earlier in the week, the Government came out strongly against an abortion lobby attempt to introduce this change with the Department of Health highlighted the very significant safety and safeguarding risks with the proposal.

Health Minister, Lord Bethell said:

“….we do not agree that women should be able to take both treatments for medical abortion at home. We believe that it is an essential safeguard that a woman attends a clinic, to ensure that she has an opportunity to be seen alone and to ensure that there are no issues.

Do we really want to support an amendment that could remove the only opportunity many women have, often at a most vulnerable stage, to speak confidentially and one-to-one with a doctor about their concerns on abortion and about what the alternatives might be? The bottom line is that, if there is an abusive relationship and no legal requirement for a doctor’s involvement, it is far more likely that a vulnerable woman could be pressured into have an abortion by an abusive partner.”

He also it clear that it would be inappropriate to make this change without parliamentary scrutiny:

“It is not right to rush through this type of change in a sensitive area such as abortion without adequate parliamentary scrutiny.”

He finally pointed out:

“… where we have taken a huge amount of advice—we have worked with the scientific advice in the department —is in the fact that the changes being offered are a fundamental change to the way abortions are regulated and administered in this country. Those regulations and administration arrangements have been worked on for years and are subject to an enormous amount of consensus.”

Spokesperson for Right to Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

We are calling on the Government to immediately revoke this dangerous decision to allow DIY abortions.

This is incredibly opportunistic and tragic change pushed by the abortion lobby to take advantage of this crisis. This is the most significant policy change to the practice of Abortion since 1967 and it has happened entirely by the back-door – without any Parliamentary scrutiny or public consultation. For a Government who won the recent election on the premise of giving Parliament “back control”, undermining of Parliament’s role in our democracy can only be described as an attack on Parliamentary sovereignty: a key component of our democratic system 

This places women at risk. The removal of any direct medical supervision overseeing the use of both abortion pills could see a rise of complications experienced by women, thus putting more strain on our NHS – having the opposite of the effect intended.

Although the Government have indicated that the designated location for the abortion will be the home, there is nothing to stop both abortion pills being taken at other locations such as schools. It is not clear how the NHS or independent clinic could ensure the pills are taken at home, and with another adult present. Indeed, there would be no control over when, where or even who is taking the pills.

There are also possible safety issues with under-16 girls and other vulnerable women taking abortion pills at home, school or other locations without the support of medical staff and possibly under coercion from third-parties.

Furthermore, this proposal poses a threat to vulnerable girls who are at risk from sex-trafficking or child-sex abuse, as the ‘home’ abortion could be used by their abusers as a means to more easily cover up trafficking or abuse scandals.

Today’s policy change by the Government goes against the very argument previously made by the abortion industry who argued that abortions should be provided at approved locations to protect women from abuse and coercion. By encouraging women to have abortions at home or other locations, the UK Government have put the health and safety of women at risk. 

The UK Government must immediately repeal these changes to allow proper democratic procedures to be undertaken, but more importantly, to protect the health of thousands of women across the country. 

ENDS

Press Release – Govt. announces it will impose abortion regime on NI in middle of Coronavirus crisis – group calls for MLAs to repeal new regime as soon as possible

Despite the fact that the UK is in the middle of dealing with the Coronavirus crisis, and despite Stormont returning on 11 January 2020, the UK Government have today announced that they will go-ahead with imposing an extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland next week (31 March 2020).

Of all submissions received, 79% of those expressed a view registering their general opposition to any abortion provision in Northern Ireland beyond that which is currently permitted.

Right To Life UK has called on MLAs to introduce legislation as soon as possible to repeal the extreme abortion regime and confirm the Northern Ireland Department of Health will prioritise dealing with the Coronavirus crisis and not divert any time and resources, which are critical to saving lives during this crisis, to instead introducing this extreme abortion regime across Northern Ireland.

The abortion regime announced by the Conservative Government today will include:

  • Disability selective abortion for any disability including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot, right through to birth. (2.1.3)
    • Abortion will be available right through to birth “if the child were born, it would suffer from such physical or mental impairment as to be seriously disabled.” 
    • In England and Wales, wording that has appeared similarly restrictive  (‘that there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped’) has in practice allowed for abortion for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.
  • De facto abortion on demand for any reason up to 24-weeks. (2.1.2)
  • Abortion-on-demand, for any reason, including sex-selective abortion, through to 12 weeks. (2.1.1)
    • This goes further than the law In England and Wales and will be the first time abortion on demand (without conditionality) will be legally available in the UK, legalising sex-selective abortion. As a doctor will only have to verify the baby is not 12-weeks gestation or older, there would be no legal grounds for a health professional to refuse to perform a sex-selective abortion. 
  • Abortions will be available in GP surgeries throughout Northern Ireland (2.1.6
    • This goes much further than the law In England and Wales, where abortions are restricted to hospitals or places approved by the Secretary of State.
  • No requirement that a doctor must be involved in an abortion – midwives and nurses will be able to provide abortions (2.1.5)
    • This goes further than the law In England and Wales, where abortions can only be performed by a registered medical practitioner (doctor), and the Abortion Act requires the approval of two doctors before an abortion can be performed.
  • No parental notification provision – Young girls will be able to get abortions without their parent’s consent.
  • No consideration period provision
  • No provision for independent counselling for women seeking an abortion

(Further details on each of these points above is available at www.righttolife.org.uk/repeal)


A senior Economist warned in July 2019 that introducing abortion on demand to Northern Ireland would cost over £5m a year, putting “strain” on an “already over-stretched health service”. The set-up of the service is likely to cost much more in terms of start-up costs and will take vital health service time and resources from fighting the Coronavirus.

Right To Life UK have today launched the “Save Lives: Repeal” campaign calling on MLAs to bring forward legislation as soon as possible to Stormont to repeal this change to the law which has been imposed on Northern Ireland.

A new poll organised by the University of Liverpool and Britain’s Economic and Social Research Council has shown that 58% of Sinn Féin voters and 54% of DUP voters want their country’s new abortion framework to only allow abortions when the mother’s life is at risk. Only 5% of all voters support introducing abortion through to 24 weeks, which is in line with what the Government will be introducing to Northern Ireland.

Right To Life UK are calling on the public to visit www.rightolife.org.uk/repeal where they can email their local MLAs calling on them to bring forward legislation as soon as possible to Stormont to repeal this change to the law which has been imposed on Northern Ireland. 

Spokesperson for Right to Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“Despite the fact that Stormont has returned and the UK is in the middle of the Coronavirus crisis, the UK Government are proceeding with imposing an extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland on 31st March 2020.

To add insult to injury, they have taken what Parliament asked them to impose on Northern Ireland and made it far worse, meaning that Northern Ireland will have one of the most extreme abortion regimes in the world, despite 79% of respondents to the consultation being opposed to any abortion provision in Northern Ireland beyond that which is currently permitted.

This extreme abortion regime will legalise sex-selective abortion and introduce abortion for babies with disabilities including cleft lip, club foot and Down’s syndrome to birth. It will introduce defacto abortion-on-demand to Northern Ireland through to 24-weeks. 

It will also open up abortion provision to midwives and nurses. This goes much further than the law In England and Wales, where abortions can only be performed by a doctor and the Abortion Act requires the approval of two doctors before an abortion can be performed.  

Abortions will also be available at GPs surgeries throughout Northern Ireland, this again goes further than the law In England and Wales, where  abortions are restricted to hospitals or places approved by the Secretary of State.

Introducing abortion on demand to Northern Ireland would cost over £5m a year, putting more pressure on an already stretched health service. Rolling out the service is likely to cost much more in terms of start-up costs and will take vital health service time and resources from fighting the Coronavirus.

We are calling on MLAs to urgently confirm the Department of Health will prioritise dealing with the Coronavirus crisis and not divert any time and resources, which are critical to saving lives during this crisis, to instead introducing this extreme abortion regime across Northern Ireland.

We are also calling on MLAs to bring forward legislation as soon as possible to Stormont to repeal this extreme change to the law”

ENDS

Press Release – UK DIY abortion plan not going ahead

PRESS COMMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

UK DIY abortion plan not going ahead

The Government has confirmed that a previous announcement today that it was to introduce DIY abortions to the UK was an administrative error and that there will be no changes to abortion regulations.

Earlier in the day the Government announced they would be making the biggest change to abortion provision since 1967, introducing telemedicine abortions that would allow ‘DIY’ abortions to be performed at home by women on themselves without a doctor or other medical professional present. The very substantial change was announced this afternoon on Twitter without any public consultation, Parliamentary scrutiny or debate. 

Under the current law, abortions could only take place in hospitals or clinical settings approved by the Secretary of State. Under the policy that was wrongly announced, doctors would have been able to prescribe both abortion pills (mifepristone and misoprostol) over the phone or video (eg Facetime or Skype), and then women would have been able to perform their own abortion at home by taking both abortion pills, meaning they will be left to pass their unborn child at home without direct medical supervision.

Spokesperson for Right to Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“We welcome the news that this extreme change to the law is not going ahead and that the announcement was an administrative error.

The Department of Health and Social Care is working tirelessly at the moment so it is understandable that human errors like this are made.

If the policy had gone ahead, it would have been an incredibly opportunistic and tragic change pushed by the abortion lobby to take advantage of this crisis. It would have been the most significant policy change to the practice of Abortion since 1967 and would have happened entirely by the back-door – without any Parliamentary scrutiny or public consultation. For a Government who won the recent election on the premise of giving Parliament “back control”, undermining of Parliament’s role in our democracy would have been an attack on Parliamentary sovereignty: a key component of our democratic system 

Most worryingly, the policy change would have also placed women at risk. The removal of any direct medical supervision overseeing the use of both abortion pills could see a rise of complications experienced by women, thus putting more strain on our NHS – having the opposite of the effect intended by drawing doctors away from the frontlines of fighting the coronavirus crisis.

ENDS

Press release – Dangerous DIY abortions introduced by Government without Parliamentary debate or scrutiny, group calls to revoke decision immediately

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Dangerous DIY abortions introduced by Government without Parliamentary debate or scrutiny, group calls to revoke decision immediately

The Government have announced the biggest change to abortion provision since 1967, introducing telemedicine abortions where ‘DIY’ abortions will be performed at home by women on themselves without a doctor or other medical professional present.

The very substantial change was announced this afternoon on Twitter without any public consultation, parliamentary scrutiny or debate.  

Previously abortions could only take place in hospitals or abortion clinics approved by the Secretary of State. Under the new temporary policy, doctors will be able to prescribe abortion pills (mifepristone and misoprostol) over the phone or video (eg Facetime or Skype) and then women will perform their own abortion at home, by taking both abortion pills, meaning they will be left to pass their unborn child at home without direct medical supervision.

Spokesperson for Right to Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

We are calling on the Government to immediately revoke this dangerous decision to allow DIY abortions.

This is incredibly opportunistic and tragic change pushed by the abortion lobby to take advantage of this crisis. This is the most significant policy change to the practice of Abortion since 1967 and it has happened entirely by the back-door – without any Parliamentary scrutiny or public consultation. For a Government who won the recent election on the premise of giving Parliament “back control”, undermining of Parliament’s role in our democracy can only be described as an attack on Parliamentary sovereignty: a key component of our democratic system 

This places women at risk. The removal of any direct medical supervision overseeing the use of both abortion pills could see a rise of complications experienced by women, thus putting more strain on our NHS – having the opposite of the effect intended.

Although the Government have indicated that the designated location for the abortion will be the home, there is nothing to stop both abortion pills being taken at other locations such as schools. It is not clear how the NHS or independent clinic could ensure the pills are taken at home, and with another adult present. Indeed, there would be no control over when, where or even who is taking the pills.

There are also possible safety issues with under-16 girls and other vulnerable women taking abortion pills at home, school or other locations without the support of medical staff and possibly under coercion from third-parties.

Furthermore, this proposal poses a threat to vulnerable girls who are at risk from sex-trafficking or child-sex abuse, as the ‘home’ abortion could be used by their abusers as a means to more easily cover up trafficking or abuse scandals.

Today’s policy change by the Government goes against the very argument previously made by the abortion industry who argued that abortions should be provided at approved locations to protect women from abuse and coercion. By encouraging women to have abortions at home or other locations, the UK Government have put the health and safety of women at risk. 

The UK Government must immediately repeal these changes to allow proper democratic procedures to be undertaken, but more importantly, to protect the health of thousands of women across the country.”

ENDS