Women at risk from ‘DIY’ home abortions, Northern Ireland Department of Health confirms

Women who take ‘DIY’ home abortion drugs are putting themselves at risk, the Northern Ireland Department of Health has declared.

The warning came in response to an online workshop instructing women on “self-managed abortion” by pro-abortion group Alliance for Choice.

When asked about the workshop, the Department of Health told News Letter: “Women are at risk if they access unregulated abortion services.”

“The Department’s view is that services should be properly delivered through direct medical supervision within the health and social care system.”

Push for ‘DIY’ home abortions in Northern Ireland

Alliance for Choice and abortion providers, including BPAS and Marie Stopes International, are putting Northern Ireland political figures under pressure to allow ‘DIY’ home abortions across the province.

The push for a change in law comes after the governments in England, Scotland and Wales amended legislation to allow at-home medical abortions to take place across Great Britain in response to the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year.

Despite assurances there would be “no change” to abortion regulations, and that in-person consultations remain “an essential safeguard” for women, the Department for Health and Social Care announced on 30 March that it would allow pregnant women in England to take both sets of pills involved in a medical abortion at home.

Just one day later, the devolved governments in Holyrood and the Welsh Assembly introduced ‘telemedicine’ abortions in Scotland and Wales. 

The governments in England, Scotland and Wales made the very substantial legislative changes without any public consultation, parliamentary scrutiny or debate.  

Tragically, the change in legislation has been linked to the potential murder of a baby unexpectedly born alive, among other serious safety concerns.

Tragic consequences

Medical abortions involve taking two tablets. The first, mifepristone, is designed to prevent the development of the unborn baby, while the second set of pills, misoprostol, induces a miscarriage.

Prior to the change in legislation, pregnant women could only take mifepristone in hospitals or abortion clinics approved by the Secretary of State and under the supervision of a doctor.

However, under the new policy, a single doctor can prescribe abortion pills following an online or phone consultation with a doctor, leaving women to pass their unborn child at home without direct medical supervision.

When the UK and Scottish Government’s introduced ‘DIY’ home abortions, they led the general public to believe the measure would be temporary, with both stating the change in legislation would last up to two years or until the COVID-19 pandemic is over, whichever comes first.

However, the ‘temporary’ legislative changes could now become permanent.

The UK Government has revealed it will open a public consultation on making the change permanent in England, while the devolved Government in Scotland has already launched an online consultation in Scotland.

Commissioning abortion services will require public consultation

Northern Ireland Health Minister, Robin Swann, told Irish News they have “publicly stated” that its legal advice says while the department is “not required to commission the relevant services”, the law now allows registered medical professionals to carry out abortions.

He added: “The regulations require such terminations to be carried out on Health and Social Care premises. This advice was communicated to Trusts in April.

“Decisions remain to be taken on the commissioning of abortion services in NI’s health service. Commissioning is a significant process that will require a public consultation. It will clearly be [a] matter for the Executive and Assembly as well as the Department.”

‘Inherently dangerous’

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said: “Ever since the UK Government permitted ‘DIY’ home abortions, stories of illegal late-term abortions and safety abuses have come to light.

“These thirteen ongoing investigations are likely only the tip of the iceberg, given the date of the leaked email.

“Abortion providers, such as BPAS and Marie Stopes International, who want to keep ‘DIY’ home abortions on a permanent basis, are unlikely to want to reveal how many complications or serious incidents have arisen as a result of their ‘services’.

“There are also likely many more incidents that abortion providers don’t know about as the majority of women are likely to not come back and tell an abortion provider that they have broken the law using their service or weren’t even aware how far along they were, given they have not had an ultrasound.

“These ‘DIY’ home abortion schemes, which are inherently dangerous and show no concern for babies or vulnerable pregnant women, should be suspended immediately and not introduced on a permanent basis.”

Scottish Govt launch ‘rigged’ consultation on whether to make ‘DIY’ abortions permanent

The Scottish Government has launched a public consultation on whether the temporary measure allowing ‘DIY’ home abortions should be made permanent.

It comes just weeks after the Scottish Government revealed its intention to expand access to abortion across the nation, despite Scotland’s most recent abortion figures being the second-highest on record.

Speaking in Holyrood earlier this month, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon outlined her party’s intention to expand access to abortion as a “priority action” over the next 12 months.

Now, the Scottish Government is asking the public whether ‘DIY’ home abortions should continue once there is no longer a significant risk of COVID-19 transmission, despite significant and mounting safety concerns.

In the biggest change to abortion law since 1967, the UK Government announced on 30 March it would temporarily allow ‘DIY’ home abortions for the next two years or until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Just one day later, on 31 March, Scottish Ministers also approved ‘DIY’ home abortions. Scotland’s former Chief Medical Officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood, wrote to NHS boards to encourage them to implement the change “as soon as possible”.

Both the Governments in Westminster and in Holyrood announced the very substantial change without any public consultation, parliamentary scrutiny or debate. 

While the Scottish Government has now launched a public consultation on ‘DIY’ home abortions, it has been criticised for being one-sided.

‘Rigged consultation’

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said: “The consultation is extremely one-sided. 

“Why is there no mention in the consultation background evidence that two women have died using these ‘DIY’ home abortion services? Surely that was relevant? Was it not relevant that police are investigating the death of an unborn baby after its mother took ‘DIY’ home abortion pills while 28 weeks’ pregnant or that one abortion provider was investigating a further thirteen ongoing investigations?

“The Scottish Government appears to have repeatedly ‘cherry-picked’ anything that supports making ‘DIY’ home abortions permanent and ignored evidence highlighting serious issues with the schemes.

“For example, in the background evidence to the consultation, the Scottish Government makes the claim that ‘Statistics have been published for January to June 2020 for England and Wales, which do show the Covid-19 arrangements have led to more women having their abortions at earlier gestations…’.” 

“While there has been an increase in the percentage of abortions prior to 10-weeks in 2020 compared to 2019, this appears to be part of a long term trend towards a higher percentage of abortions happening prior to 10 weeks, with year-on-year percentage increases happening each year for a number of years. The Scottish Government has chosen to not include this important context in the background evidence and then gone further by making the claim that ‘DIY’ home abortions have ‘led to more women having their abortion at earlier gestations’.

“The cherry-picking of evidence or views that only support introducing ‘DIY’ abortions is then repeated throughout the background evidence.

“This is clearly a rigged consultation which is seeking to make dangerous ‘DIY’ home abortion permanent in Scotland.

“We are calling on constituents in Scotland to make it clear to their MSPs that these dangerous ‘DIY’ home abortion schemes should be suspended immediately and not introduced on a permanent basis.”

Right To Life UK has launched an online tool allowing Scottish residents to contact their local MSPs and call for an immediate end to ‘DIY’ home abortions following the deaths of two women.

Significant problems

Since ‘DIY’ home abortions were introduced, a number of significant problems have arisen.

According to a leaked “urgent email” sent by a regional chief midwife at NHS England and NHS Improvement on the “escalating risks” of ‘DIY’ home abortions, two women have died after taking ‘DIY’ home abortion pills.

The email leak also revealed police have opened a murder investigation into the death of a baby who they believe was born alive despite her mother taking ‘DIY’ home abortion pills. 

A nationwide undercover investigation found evidence of abortion providers putting women at significant risk by not carrying out basic checks before sending them ‘DIY’ home abortion pills.

The study also discovered ‘DIY’ home abortion pills can easily be obtained and administered to others, potentially in a coercive manner.

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 said they were 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 late-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”.

What is a public consultation?

A public consultation is a process used by the Government, and other public bodies, which invites the public to provide their views and feedback on a particular proposal.

In the majority of consultations, responses can be submitted by both individuals and organisations.

Consultations last for a proportionate amount of time and consist of a limited number of clear, concise questions.

A consultation should help scrutinise a proposal and give an indicator of its public approval.

Government Minister reveals temporary measure allowing ‘DIY’ home abortions in UK will be reviewed

Temporary measures allowing ‘DIY’ home abortions are to be reviewed as part of a public consultation that will be run by the UK Government, following mounting safety concerns – including a murder investigation and the death of two women.

In the biggest change to abortion law since 1967, the UK Government announced on 30 March it would temporarily allow ‘DIY’ home abortions.

The very substantial change, which was made without any public consultation, parliamentary scrutiny or debate, was meant to last for the next two years or until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

However, Lord Bethell has told the Mirror there will be a public consultation “on permanent home use of both pills for early medical abortion”.

The disclosure has since been confirmed by Health Minister Helen Whately who, in response to a parliamentary question from pro-life MP Carla Lockhart, said: “The Government has committed to undertake a public consultation on making permanent the COVID-19 measure allowing for home use of both pills for early medical abortion up to 10 weeks gestation for all eligible women. The current COVID-19 measure will be kept in place until the public consultation concludes and a decision has been made.”

The Sunday Mirror has revealed that “up to 90,000 women” have used ‘DIY’ home abortion services since policy was introduced.

Significant problems

Since ‘DIY’ home abortions were introduced, a number of significant problems have arisen.

According to a leaked “urgent email” sent by a regional chief midwife at NHS England and NHS Improvement on the “escalating risks” of ‘DIY’ home abortions, two women have died after taking ‘DIY’ home abortion pills.

The email leak also revealed police have opened a murder investigation into the death of a baby who they believe was born alive despite her mother taking ‘DIY’ home abortion pills. 

A nationwide undercover investigation found evidence of abortion providers putting women at significant risk by not carrying out basic checks before sending them ‘DIY’ home abortion pills.

The study also discovered ‘DIY’ home abortion pills can easily be obtained and administered to others, potentially in a coercive manner.

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”.

Full inquiry into ‘DIY’ home abortions announced

Last month, in a 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.”

‘Inherently dangerous’

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said: “Ever since the UK Government permitted ‘DIY’ home abortions, stories of illegal late-term abortions and safety abuses have come to light.

“We, along with other pro-life campaigners, warned it was only a matter of time before a woman died as a result of a ‘DIY’ home abortion. Tragically, that is now the case.

“These cases and the thirteen ongoing investigations are likely only the tip of the iceberg, given the date of the leaked email.

“Abortion providers, such as BPAS and Marie Stopes International, who want to keep ‘DIY’ home abortions on a permanent basis, are unlikely to want to reveal how many complications or serious incidents have arisen as a result of their ‘services’.

“There are also likely many more incidents that abortion providers don’t know about as the majority of women are likely to not come back and tell an abortion provider that they have broken the law using their service or weren’t even aware how far along they were, given they have not had an ultrasound.

“These ‘DIY’ home abortion schemes, which are inherently dangerous and show no concern for babies or vulnerable pregnant women, should be suspended immediately and not introduced on a permanent basis.”

Right To Life UK has launched an online tool allowing UK residents to contact their local MPs and call for an immediate end to ‘DIY’ home abortions following the deaths of two women.

What is a public consultation?

A public consultation is a process used by the Government, and other public bodies, which invites the public to provide their views and feedback on a particular proposal.

In the majority of consultations, responses can be submitted by both individuals and organisations.

Consultations last for a proportionate amount of time and consist of a limited number of clear, concise questions.

A consultation should help scrutinise a proposal and give an indicator of its public approval.

Murder investigation launched into death of baby whose mother took ‘DIY’ home abortion pills

Police have opened a murder investigation into the death of a baby who they believe was born alive despite their mother taking ‘DIY’ home abortion pills. 

The shocking disclosure was exposed at the UK Court of Appeal last week, where the Christian Legal Centre was challenging the Government’s decision to permit ‘DIY’ abortions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A leaked “urgent email”, sent by a senior chief midwife at NHS England and NHS Improvement on the “escalating risks” of the ‘pills by post’ service being run by UK abortion providers BPAS, Marie Stopes and NUPAS, also revealed the deaths of two women as a result of complications after taking ‘DIY’ home abortion pills.

One woman died “very quickly” with sepsis whilst seeking urgent care at a hospital’s accident and emergency department after taking ‘DIY’ abortion pills.

A second woman was found dead at home the morning after starting the medical abortion process.

Tip of the iceberg

As the email was sent on 21 May 2020, it is unclear how many further incidents have taken place.

The email also details that many incidents with the new ‘DIY’ abortion service have not been reported to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) by abortion providers. 

The email outlines that “the only reporting of incident to the CQC, from this sector are those that are significant, ie babies that are to be a late TOP [termination of pregnancy], as all the other outcomes are seen to be a complication of the process which could occur in any setting.” 

Significant problems from the onset

Since ‘DIY’ home abortions were introduced on 30 March, a number of significant problems have arisen.

A nationwide undercover investigation found evidence of abortion providers putting women at significant risk by not carrying out basic checks before sending them ‘DIY’ home abortion pills.

The study also discovered ‘DIY’ home abortion pills can easily be obtained and administered to others, potentially in a coercive manner..

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”.

Court of Appeal refuses to hear evidence against ‘DIY’ home abortions

Despite the clear harm ‘DIY’ home abortions are having on pregnant women and their unborn babies, the Court of Appeal refused to consider evidence highlighted in the leaked emails.

According to the Christian Legal Centre, Lady Justice King refused, saying that she would give her reason for the refusal later.

The court also rejected an expert witness statement from Kevin Duffy, a former global clinics director at abortion provider Marie Stopes International, who called for ‘DIY’ home abortion services to be withdrawn immediately.  

In his statement, Mr Duffy brought attention to an undercover investigation which found abortion providers were not carrying out basic checks before sending termination pills – including the prescription of termination pills past the 10-week limit.

Service must be withdrawn

Mr Duffy said: “None of the scenarios revealed in my survey, or the incidents in the NHS email leak, would have happened under the pre-lockdown abortion process. These cases are a direct result of the move to home abortion and particularly the removal of the clinic visit and routine assessments.

“It is simply not possible to replace the critical clinic-based consultation with a phone call. The telemedicine service leaves pregnant women highly vulnerable and must be withdrawn urgently.”

The Court of Appeal judges have reserved their ruling to a later date.

‘Inherently dangerous’

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said: “Ever since the UK Government permitted ‘DIY’ home abortions, stories of illegal late-term abortions and safety abuses have come to light.

“We, along with other pro-life campaigners, warned it was only a matter of time before a woman died as a result of a ‘DIY’ home abortion. Tragically, that is now the case.

“These cases and the thirteen ongoing investigations are likely only the tip of the iceberg, given the date of the leaked email.

“Abortion providers, such as BPAS and Marie Stopes International, who want to keep ‘DIY’ home abortions on a permanent basis are unlikely to want to reveal how many complications or serious incidents have arisen as a result of their ‘services’.

“There are also likely many more incidents that abortion providers don’t know about as the majority of women are likely to not come back and tell an abortion provider that they have broken the law using their service or weren’t even aware how far along they were, given they have not had an ultrasound.

“These ‘DIY’ home abortion schemes, which are inherently dangerous and show no concern for babies or vulnerable pregnant women, should be suspended immediately.”Right To Life UK has launched an online tool allowing UK residents to contact their local MPs and call for an immediate end to ‘DIY’ home abortions following the deaths of two women.