Illegal ‘DIY’ abortion service launched in Northern Ireland by largely taxpayer-funded abortion provider

Abortion provider BPAS, which is largely funded by the taxpayer in England and Wales, has launched an illegal ‘DIY’ abortion service in Northern Ireland.  

Under the current law in Northern Ireland, the first abortion pill must be taken in a clinic under medical supervision.

‘DIY’ home abortions allow women to take both potentially dangerous abortion pills at home by themselves without a doctor or other medical professional present, meaning they will be left to pass their unborn child at home without direct medical supervision.

Taking both abortion pills at home is illegal under the current law in Northern Ireland because the home has not been assigned as a location where the first abortion pill can be taken. It is not at the moment clear if the burden for breaking the law would fall on the women, any medical professionals involved or the abortion provider BPAS.

The Northern Ireland Department of Health has faced significant pressure from English abortion providers Marie Stopes and BPAS to make ‘DIY’ abortions legal in Northern Ireland.

The two abortion providers are the largest in the UK but are looking to expand their ‘market’ and financially benefit from the new extreme abortion regime in Northern Ireland, which could cost an estimated £5 million per year. 

If telemedicine abortions were allowed in the province, these two abortion providers would be able to enter the new Northern Ireland abortion ‘market’ by running the abortion service from their call centres based in England. This would mean that they would not face all the upfront time and costs that would be involved in setting up a physical abortion service in Northern Ireland. Given the Northern Ireland Department of Health has not yet rolled out an abortion service in Northern Ireland, this would leave almost the entire ‘market’ in Northern Ireland to these two abortion providers.

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

“This is an opportunistic and illegal move by BPAS to break the law in Northern Ireland to attempt to force the Department of Health in Northern Ireland to make ‘DIY’ abortions legal.

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 the NHS in Northern Ireland.

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.

It would also allow BPAS to enter the new Northern Ireland abortion ‘market’ by running the abortion service from their call centres based in England. This would mean that they would not face all the upfront time and costs that would be involved in setting up a physical abortion service in Northern Ireland. Given the Northern Ireland Department of Health has not yet rolled out an abortion service in Northern Ireland, this would leave almost the entire ‘market’ in Northern Ireland to private abortion providers in England.

We are calling on the Northern Ireland Executive to take immediate legal action to stop this illegal abortion service operating in Northern Ireland.”

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