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Prominent peer highlights underreporting of complications arising from ‘DIY’ abortions

A prominent member of the House of Lords has drawn attention to the shocking evidence of massive underreporting of complications arising from ‘DIY’ home abortions as part of the Government’s Women’s Health Strategy.

In discussing the issue of data gaps, Baroness Philippa Stroud highlighted the difference in the incidences of reported abortion complications arising from ‘DIY’ home abortions and the data gathered from hospitals via Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, which indicates a far higher rate of complication.

Baroness Stroud said: “The Minister in the other place confirmed in a recent Written Answer that the only method the department uses to gather this data is via HSA4 forms”.

“Between April and June 2020, from the 23,000 at-home abortions, these forms reported just a single complication, yet FOI requests to just six hospitals during the same period suggested that women were presenting due to complications at a rate five times higher than that reported by the Department of Health and Social Care”.

She went on to point out that “there were 36 999 calls due to at-home abortion complications every month to the ambulance service”.

In response to the Baroness’s question about addressing this gap, Lord Bethell, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care said: “I do not have a full brief on the treatment of abortion complication statistics at my fingertips, but she alludes to exactly the kind of data gaps that we wish to address in this consultation period and in the emerging strategy”.

Underreporting of complications from ‘DIY’ at-home abortions

Baroness Stroud is drawing attention to Government data released earlier this year that indicates that complications, including haemorrhage, uterine perforation and/or sepsis, following a ‘DIY’ home abortion are likely to have been vastly underreported.

In response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted last year, the Government said that between April and June of 2020 – the first three months after ‘DIY’ home abortions were made available – there were 23,061 ‘DIY’ abortions, and one reported complication.

As the MP, Sally-Ann Hart, who first called attention to this data said: “This would mean that the average rate of complication for medical abortions at a similar gestation over the past five years was over seventeen times higher than the complication rate for home abortions earlier this year”.

“This is not only highly unlikely – that complications would radically reduce in a home setting versus a medical setting – but, some may say, ridiculous”.

The data suggests that either ‘DIY’ abortions without any clinical supervision are significantly less dangerous than medical abortions with clinical supervision – a conclusion that would raise serious questions about the standard of care in abortion centres in England and Wales – or there are serious issues with the quality of recording and reporting incidences of complications arising from ‘DIY’ home abortions.

In Wales also, it has been reported that official data shows that there has been a 100 per cent increase in ambulance call-outs to people taking abortion pills at home since regulations permitting medical abortion outside of a clinical setting came into effect last year.

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “There is a disparity between the officially reported data on complications arising from ‘DIY’ abortions and the Freedom of Information requests to individual hospitals. This disparity, in addition to the comparison with the average complication rate over the last five years arising from medical abortions that take place in a hospital setting, is strong evidence that the true extent of complications is likely massively underreported”.

“The huge increase in ambulance call-outs is also indicative of the problem. The manifest dangers of ‘DIY’ abortions for the baby’s mother, as well as the fact that it has no safeguards to prevent coercive abortions, show that its supporters are ideologues concerned with promoting abortion access at all costs with little regard for the wellbeing of women – let alone their unborn babies”.

Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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Dear reader

In 2020, the UK Government imposed an extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland, which included a provision that legalised abortion right up to birth for disabilties including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

A new Bill has been launched at the Northern Ireland assembly that will remove the current provision that allows abortion for ‘severe fetal impairment’.

It is under these grounds in the regulations that babies with disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot can currently be singled out for abortion in Northern Ireland because of their disability and can be aborted right up to birth.

Before the new abortion regime was imposed on Northern Ireland in 2020, disability-selective abortion for conditions such as Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot was not legal and there was a culture of welcoming and supporting people with these disabilities rather than eliminating them.

This is reflected directly in the latest figures (2016) from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, which show that while there were 52 children born with Down’s syndrome in Northern Ireland, in the same year only 1 child from Northern Ireland with Down’s syndrome was aborted in England and Wales. 

This contrasts with the situation in the rest of the United Kingdom where disability-selective abortion has been legal since 1967.

The latest available figures show that 90% of children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome before birth are aborted in England and Wales.

We are, therefore, asking people like you to take 30 seconds of your time and add your support to the campaign to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot in Northern Ireland.

If you live in Northern Ireland: 
Ask your MLAs to vote to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot:

If you live outside Northern Ireland: 
Show your support by signing this petition in support of the Bill:

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Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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