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August 28, 2018 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) – The Government will legalise home use of abortion pills for women in England by the end of the year, the Department of Health announced on Saturday.

This means that England now joins Scotland and Wales in allowing the use of abortion pills away from medical supervision. SPUC plans to continue the legal action which began in Scotland but now has implications across the UK.

Cavalier attitude of abortion industry

Responding to the news, SPUC deputy chief executive John Deighan said: “The abortion pill puts women through a terrible emotional and physical ordeal. The determination of the abortion industry to push women to undergo this in their own home with no real medical supervision illustrates their cavalier attitude when it comes to the well-being of women. It further trivialises abortion making women increasingly open to coercion, to make a choice that suits others.

“In terms of the legality of enabling DIY home abortions we remain convinced that it is outside the parameters of the Abortion Act,” he continued. “We have every intention of pursuing action through the courts.”

Dangerous and illegal

SPUC has expressed deep concerns for the possible adverse impacts of the at home policy on the health of women. Dr Anthony McCarthy details just some of them in this response to an article in the BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health, which claimed that home abortion is “safe” and “appreciated by women”.

SPUC has been challenging the policy on two major legal grounds. Firstly, the 1967 Abortion Act lays down specific rules for approved places where procedures can take place and SPUC's legal advice states that the law “was not intended to allow abortions to take place at home”. In addition, the legal advice says a woman who takes such an abortifacient (abortion causing) drug at home “is not consistent” with the Abortion Act which demands the presence of medical, nursing or clinical staff.

We cannot stand idly by

Two weeks ago, Lady Wise ruled that the Scottish Government's adoption of the policy was “not unlawful” – a decision that the Society intends to appeal. However, this Scottish ruling appears to have led to the Westminster Government giving into pressure from abortion campaigners to introduce the policy in England. 

John Deighan said that SPUC maintains the belief “that our arguments convincingly exposed the unlawfulness of the actions taken by the Scottish [and now the Westminster] Government which are in contravention of the law.

“Our position remains the same despite this judgement,” he continued. “For the sake of women's health and the universal right to life we cannot stand idly by whilst such a detrimental measure is implemented in the name of health care.”

Published with permission from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.