On Wednesday, MPs will vote on an amendment that proposes making the biggest change to abortion legislation since 1967.
The amendment would make ‘DIY’ home abortion available permanently and overturn the Government’s decision to end home abortion schemes that were temporarily allowed during the pandemic.
Right To Life UK is encouraging members of the public to make contact with their MP and ask them to vote against the amendment on Wednesday (30 March). They have launched a tool on their website that enables members of the public to email their local MP on this issue.
Last month, the Government in Westminster announced that the temporary provision, which allows abortions to take place entirely outside of a clinical setting, would be coming to an end in August this year.
However, the Conservative Peer, Baroness Sugg, since launched a bid to make ‘DIY’ abortion a permanent feature of the law in England by amending the Government’s Health and Care Bill. Her amendment was passed by 75 votes to 35 in the House of Lords amid confusion among Liberal Democrat Peers about whether or not they had a free vote.
The amendment, arranged for debate on Wednesday this week, will remove essential safeguards designed to protect women by helping to prevent coerced abortion and reducing the risk of complications.
70% of submissions against ‘DIY’ abortion
Ahead of their decision to end the provision for ‘DIY’ abortions, the Government released the results of a consultation on whether ‘DIY’ at-home abortion provision should be ended, which showed that 70% of submissions to the consultation supported ending the temporary policy immediately.
A number of significant problems have arisen since ‘DIY’ home abortions were introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the policy has left women and girls facing unplanned pregnancies to self-administer their own abortions at home without in-person medical supervision, reliable in-person safeguarding checks nor a routine in-person medical examination.
10,000 women had to receive hospital treatment following ‘DIY’ abortion
A study released in November 2021 suggested that more than 10,000 women had to receive hospital treatment following the use of medical abortion pills in England between April 2020 and September 2021.
In May 2020, UK police were investigating the death of an unborn baby after its mother took ‘DIY’ home abortion pills while 28 weeks pregnant.
A nationwide undercover investigation, undertaken by Kevin Duffy, a former Global Director of Clinics Development at MSI Reproductive Choices (formerly Marie Stopes International), found evidence of abortion providers putting women at significant risk by not carrying out basic checks before sending them ‘DIY’ home abortion pills. The investigation also discovered ‘DIY’ home abortion pills can easily be obtained and administered to others, potentially in a coercive manner.
Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “The evidence from the past two years about the threat ‘DIY’ at-home abortion poses to women’s health and safety is clear. Not only is there a high rate of complication and need for further medical treatment following a ‘DIY’ abortion, but coercion and abuse is much harder to detect”.
“The Government made the right decision in choosing to wind down this measure; any attempt now to reverse this decision would be a desperate and irresponsible act leading to women being needlessly put in harm’s way”.