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Parliamentary motion launched to reinstate in-person abortion appointments

An MP has tabled a motion to reinstate in-person medical appointments before abortion pills can be taken to determine the gestational age of the unborn baby and ensure women are not being coerced into abortion.

Carla Lockhart, MP for Upper Bann, introduced the Early Day Motion (EDM) to reinstate in-person appointments before a medical abortion as an important safeguard for the safety of women and to help prevent abortion coercion.

In an apparent reference to the recent tragic case of Carla Foster who had an illegal abortion at between 32 and 34 weeks gestation, the EDM notes that “recent illegal late-term abortions of viable unborn babies would not have been able to occur had in-person appointments to accurately assess gestational age been required”.

The EDM was launched in support of the At Home Early Medical Abortion (Review) Bill currently making its way through the House of Lords. The Bill specifically requires the Government to review whether in-person medical appointments, during which the gestational age of the pregnancy can be accurately determined before an at-home abortion occurs, should be reinstated.

Radical abortion amendment

In the same week, pro-abortion MPs Stella Creasy and Diana Johnson each tabled an amendment that proposes to remove offences that make it illegal to perform a self-abortion at any point right through to birth.

Prior to her tabling the amendment, during the debate on the Criminal Justice Bill, Johnson insisted that her proposal “would not change any law regarding the provision of abortion services within a healthcare setting in England and Wales”. However, since the majority of abortions now take place away from a clinical setting, women would be able to take abortion pills at home at any stage of their pregnancy up to birth without committing an offence.

Lockhart’s EDM urges Parliament to reject such proposals “that would likely lead to a worsening of the situation and the lives of many more women being endangered”.

A recent Government review of abortion complications in England between 2017 and 2021 has revealed that the complication rate for medical abortions is 160.33 times higher for abortions at 20 weeks and over when compared to medical abortions that occurred at 2 to 9 weeks. The complication rate is likely to be much higher for women performing their own abortions at home without medical supervision well beyond the current 24-week time limit.

Urgent need to reinstate in-person appointments

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said “Johnson’s and Creasy’s amendments propose removing offences that make it illegal to perform a self-abortion at any point right through to birth. These amendments would likely lead to an increased number of babies’ lives being ended through late-term abortions performed at home, as well as the lives of many more women being endangered. 

Carla Lockhart’s EDM and the House of Lords Bill recognise the danger of such abortions and seek to prevent these dangerous abortions from taking place”.

“The recent Government review highlighting the dangers of abortions after 20 weeks reinforces the urgent need for the Government to reinstate in-person appointments before all abortions take place to ensure that the gestation of babies can accurately be assessed”.

“The in-person requirement for abortion, which existed up until 2020, acted as a safeguard to protect women and their babies not only from abortion, which becomes increasingly dangerous for women at later gestations, but also from the threat of coercion”.

“Instead of pushing for fewer safeguards through these amendments, MPs who care about women and their babies should be lining up to sign Carla Lockhart’s motion and calling for the Government to urgently reinstate in-person appointments”.

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.