‘DIY’ home abortion pills can easily be obtained and administered to others, potentially in a coercive manner, it has been revealed, as more shocking abuses from an undercover investigation have come to light.
As part of the undercover investigation, commissioned by the Christian Legal Centre, eight volunteers went through the process of acquiring mifepristone and misoprostol – the pills needed to perform a ‘DIY’ home abortion.
In every case, pills were sent to the volunteers, despite using false names, dates of birth and gestational dates.
Safeguards circumvented as mother acquires abortion pills for underage daughter
Under the use of a false identity and story, Hannah in Hertfordshire (a pseudonym) was able to acquire abortion pills for her underage daughter by pretending she was pregnant herself.
Following a sleepless night, the mother had decided she couldn’t have her fifteen-year-old daughter “go through the system” and in no-way wanted her underage teenager to be questioned by the authorities.
Hannah made the unilateral decision to phone an abortion provider pretending that she was pregnant, get the medical abortion pills sent to their home, and then she would administer these to her daughter.
Hannah wasn’t too sure how this would work out, so she phoned both BPAS and Marie Stopes presenting as seven weeks pregnant and asked for the pills used in a medical termination.
The process was much easier than she thought it would be and after a few telephone calls she received abortion pills in the post from both BPAS and Marie Stopes International.
Although, this is a case study, in real life this would leave a mother like Hannah with two sets of abortion pills – one for her teenage daughter who has circumvented vital safeguards involved in the abortion process and a spare set she could potentially give to another mother with a pregnant daughter.
‘DIY’ home abortion pills consistently prescribed after 10-week limit
Under further false identities and stories, Lisa in Berkshire, Claire in Cambridgeshire, and Laura in Essex (pseudonyms) had each already reached the 10 week gestational time limit when they made their first calls to obtain abortion pills.
Each of them had read about early medical abortion online and knew that their pregnancies exceeded the 9 week 6 day time limit for a ‘DIY’ home abortion.
The women were not just aware they’d be taking abortion pills illegally, but were also aware of the higher incidence of side-effects and failure rates associated with a late-term medical abortion, as detailed on the BPAS website, among others.
The BPAS website states one week of difference, from less than 9 weeks gestation to a 9-10 week gestational age over, doubles the risk of an incomplete abortion; rising from 3% to 7%.
Knowing this, they proceeded regardless and all received their abortion after lying about their gestation age.
Nikki, also also using a false identity, managed to obtain abortion pills from both BPAS and Marie Stopes International. She is now wondering what she might do with the second pack.
Research participant Anna (a pseudonym) gave a gestation date on the cusp of the 9 weeks and 6 days, which would have put her over the limit at the start of the process. During a second call she changed the date of her last menstrual period to remain within the 9 weeks and 6 days limit and this was accepted without any questions being asked.
According to the Christian Legal Centre, all eight volunteers were rushed through the process. The legal advocacy group revealed that: “On one call, staff can be heard talking over the woman to quickly conclude the conversation by sending out the abortion pills.”
Full inquiry into ‘DIY’ home abortions announced
On Monday night, in a major victory for pro-life campaigners, a radical amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill that would have allowed ‘DIY’ home abortions to take place on a permanent basis for domestic abuse victims was withdrawn.
During the debate, pro-life MP Fiona Bruce MP put forward an amendment calling on 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. But, Minister for Women Victoria Atkins MP promised that the current temporary policy of allowing ‘DIY’ home abortions would continue “until [a] public consultation concludes and a decision has been made”.
Fiona Bruce told CNA: “It is to be hoped, and we need to ensure, that this review — consultation — will properly and fairly highlight safety concerns around the taking of ‘at-home abortion pills’ which have been highlighted in recent press reports.”
Legal challenge imminent
Later this month, on 28 or 29 July, the UK Court of Appeal will hear a challenge of the UK Government’s decision to allow ‘DIY’ home abortions.
Shortly after lockdown began, without public consultation or parliamentary scrutiny, the UK Government controversially announced a policy that would allow ‘DIY’ home abortions.
The policy meant women could obtain and administer medical abortion pills at home before they reach 9 weeks and 6 days gestation.
Prior to the change, women seeking a termination would have to visit a clinic for an assessment from a healthcare professional where they would undergo a routine ultrasound scan to assess gestational age.
Significant problems from the onset
Since ‘DIY’ home abortions were introduced on 30 March, a number of significant and real problems have arisen.
In May, it was revealed UK police were investigating the death of an unborn baby after its 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.
One woman said she went through “hell” and thought she was going to die after taking the dangerous pills.
Another woman said the pain and physical process was “horrible” and “a lot worse than expected”.
‘A system that needs to be stopped immediately’
Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, said: “We’re simply asking, based on the BPAS disclosure to The Sun on May 22, that there were already eight cases where women were beyond the ten-week limit, and from our own study, how many more women have obtained and self-administered the abortion pills in breach of the regulations?
“We are for the women and we are trying to point out legitimate concerns about telemedicine services related to legal compliance, client safety, and quality of care. These women need better client-centred counselling and a face-to-face consultation in which they can be assessed by a service provider before giving their consent to this procedure. A rushed telephone call, by voice only, is not the quality of care which these women deserve.
“The system is wide open to abuse from abusers, pimps, and human traffickers.
“Abortion pills through the post is a system that needs to be stopped immediately and a thorough investigation needs to occur around the legality and practices of the two major abortion providers in the UK.”