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MPs vote by narrow margin to continue ‘DIY’ abortion services
Today, MPs voted by a narrow margin of 27 votes (215:188) in favour of an amendment to the Health and Care Bill, that would make ‘DIY’ at-home abortion permanently available in England.
This result will overturn the Government’s decision last month to end the temporary provision that has allowed abortions to take place entirely outside of a clinical setting.
Results from the Department of Health and Social Care’ consultation on ‘DIY’ abortion showed overwhelming support for the Government’s decision to wind down the services and make sure no more women are put at risk due to the temporary provision from 30 August 2022, with 70% of respondents saying the policy should end immediately and only 22% saying it should remain permanently.
Since that announcement, the Conservative Peer, Baroness Sugg, 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.
Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson, said:
“The group of MPs who have voted for this amendment have voted to remove vital safeguards including an in-person appointment with a medical professional. This will put thousands more women at risk from ‘DIY’ home abortion services”.
“At-home abortion schemes have been linked to a series of scandals where women have been put at risk”.
“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”.
“By removing a routine in-person consultation that allows medical practitioners to certify gestation and recognise potential coercion or abuse, ‘at-home’ abortion has presented serious risks to women and girls in abusive situations. It has allowed severe complications to occur, as well as abortions beyond the legal limit, as abortion providers currently cannot ensure the pills are taken by the intended individual within the appropriate time frame”.
“Polling in England shows the overwhelming majority of women and GPs surveyed were concerned by the possibility of pills being falsely obtained for another person, and by women having medical abortions at home beyond the legal limit. Previous polling has revealed that 92% of women in Britain agreed that a woman requesting an abortion should always be seen in person by a qualified doctor”.