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Think twice before making home abortions the new normal – Dr Calum MacKellar

Since 2017, partial home abortions have been possible in Scotland for medical terminations. These usually take place in the first ten weeks of gestation, whereby a woman is given two sets of pills. The first (mifepristone) is generally taken in a clinic and obstructs a hormone which is necessary for the uterus to support the implanted embryo/foetus. The second pill (misoprostol) is taken at home (if the woman so wishes) two days later and causes the lining of the womb to break down, resulting in the uterus contracting and expelling the dead embryo/foetus.

However, since the end of March 2020 and in the light of the risks of Covid-19 infection, a woman seeking a medical abortion can now take both sets of pills at home if this is considered appropriate. And because of this precedent, the Scottish Government is consulting until 5 January 2021 whether this arrangement should be made permanent even after the threat of Covid-19 recedes.

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