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Miriam Cates MP joins calls for Government to end ‘DIY’ abortions

As the Government in Westminster is set to remove all or almost all COVID-19 emergency measures, Miriam Cates MP has called on the Government to end the provision of dangerous ‘DIY’ abortions too.

In a recent piece for Conservative Home, Miriam Cates, MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, has argued that ‘DIY’ abortions contribute to coercion and abuse, are medically dangerous and has called on the Department of Health and Social Care “to prioritise the security and welfare of women facing unplanned pregnancies”.

‘DIY’ home abortions were introduced at the start of the pandemic in March 2020 as a temporary policy to allow access to abortion while reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19. For the first time since the Abortion Act was passed, it became possible for women to access abortion without any in-person medical consultation.

Cates argued: “In removing the requirement for an in-person consultation prior to abortion, there is no guarantee that the woman requesting the pills is doing so for her own legal use within the medically accepted time limit (10 weeks gestation in England and Wales)”.

Concerns about the law being broken and women performing ‘DIY’ abortions beyond the 10-week limit have been confirmed through undercover investigations that found abortion providers sending abortion pills to women pregnant beyond this limit.

No way to detect coercion

Without the requirement for an in-person consultation, Cates asked: “How can a healthcare professional possibly certify over the phone that a woman is making the decision to abort freely?”

“[F]igures show that domestic violence worsens during pregnancy; 20 per cent of women using the organisation’s services are pregnant or recently gave birth, whilst studies show that four to nine per cent of women experience abuse during their pregnancy or afterwards”.

She went on to say “I am certain the Government does not want to put women at risk from coercive control nor put in place measures that risk aiding their abusers”.

Making reference to the Conservative Party manifesto of 2019 that pledged “to fight crime against women and girls” and provide support for “individuals, most often women, trapped with coercive partners”, the MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge indicated that she believes that the provision to allow ‘DIY’ home abortions should be revoked alongside other emergency provisions.

The temporary provisions are set to expire in March unless the Government specifically creates legislation that allows them to continue.

Ms Cates’ comments come as multiple other MPs spoke out in favour of the Government ending this measure, and only a week after the Government confirmed that this was “always intended to be a temporary measure”.

More than 10,000 women had to receive hospital treatment following the use of medical abortion pills in England

A study emerged last year that 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.

Based on data collected from 85 Freedom of Information requests to NHS Trusts across England, the study suggests that more than 1 in 17 women who had a medical abortion over the 18-month period needed hospital treatment.

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “The number of MPs calling for an end to ‘DIY’ abortions is increasing, with Steve Baker MP, Scott Benton MP, Carla Lockhart MP and Fiona Bruce MP all in support of an end to the provision. Miriam Cates is right to join these MPs calling for an end to the largest change to the abortion law in the last 50 years, which came about without any parliamentary scrutiny”.

“This two-year experiment has been an evident failure for women who have been put in danger by the abortion lobby’s intent on increasing abortion access regardless of the dangers it poses to health and the risk of coercion and abuse”.

Dear reader,

You may be surprised to learn that our 24-week abortion time limit is out of line with the majority of European Union countries, where the most common time limit for abortion on demand or on broad social grounds is 12 weeks gestation.

The latest guidance from the British Association of Perinatal Medicine enables doctors to intervene to save premature babies from 22 weeks. The latest research indicates that a significant number of babies born at 22 weeks gestation can survive outside the womb, and this number increases with proactive perinatal care.

This leaves a real contradiction in British law. In one room of a hospital, doctors could be working to save a baby born alive at 23 weeks whilst, in another room of that same hospital, a doctor could perform an abortion that would end the life of a baby at the same age.

The majority of the British population support reducing the time limit. Polling has shown that 70% of British women favour a reduction in the time limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks or below.

Please click the button below to sign the petition to the Prime Minister, asking him to do everything in his power to reduce the abortion time limit.