Carla Lockhart MP has led a group of MPs who have launched a motion calling on the Government to end the ‘DIY’ or at-home abortion scheme.
The self-administration of both sets of abortion pills at home without an in-person consultation was temporarily allowed in March 2020 during the first COVID-19 lockdown.
The Early Day Motion (EDM) calling for the end to the policy has now been launched by a number of MPs.
In particular, the Early Day Motion highlights the danger DIY abortions pose to women’s health and safety.
The Department of Health and Social Care recently held a public consultation on whether the temporary policy to permit ‘at-home’ abortion should become permanent, and a decision from them is imminent.
Health and safety concerns
The motion cites the extensive evidence that has already emerged of women attending emergency departments due to severe complications, abortions occurring beyond the legal limit, and difficulties in safeguarding against abuse and coercion.
It highlights the fact that abortion providers currently cannot ensure the pills they prescribe are taken by the intended individual in safe, uncoerced circumstances within the appropriate time frame, which is a serious concern for underage sexual abuse victims and women in abusive relationships.
Against the wishes of medical professionals
The motion also acknowledges “that polling in England shows the overwhelming majority of women and GPs surveyed [are] concerned by the possibility of pills being falsely obtained for another person and by women having medical abortions at home beyond the legal limit”.
Just last month, over 600 UK medical professionals signed an open letter to the Government calling for an end to ‘at-home’ abortion due to concerns that it has led to a number of abortions occurring over the ten-week limit and that it fails to protect women and girls from being coerced into an abortion against their will.
One signatory, Dr Calum Miller, of Oxford University, said an in-person medical examination was ”a critical safety measure to check the gestation of the pregnancy” and other possible medical issues, adding: “We should not be failing women by eliminating the checks”.
Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “The dangers of DIY abortions are well known. There is simply no guarantee about who actually takes the abortion drugs; there are no in-person checks on the gestation of the baby, and it is very difficult to reliably assess whether or not the woman is being forced into doing something she does not want to do”.
“We are calling on the public to use our easy-to-use tool to email their MPs and ask that they sign this motion. Time is of the essence, and we must do everything in our power to hold the Government to account on this dangerous policy”.