April 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The Irish Department of Health has announced that in response to the coronavirus pandemic it is relaxing restrictions on access to early chemical abortions, allowing women to be prescribed the abortion pill without seeing a doctor in person.
The Irish Times reported that guidelines issued yesterday will temporarily “dispense with the requirement for women to make two GP visits, three days apart, to access an early medical abortion.”
“In the current situation, where the need for social distancing, reducing personal contacts and reducing the burden on medical practitioners are paramount, it may not be possible or advisable for a woman to attend a medical practitioner in person to access termination in early pregnancy,” the guidelines read.
Women less than 10 weeks’ pregnant will now be able to be prescribed chemical abortions via remote consultations, either via phone or video call, with the pills available to be collected or sent via courier.
The abortion pill – “medication abortion” or “chemical abortion” – is actually two pills, one to deprive a developing preborn baby of the nutrition he needs and then one to induce contractions. The first pill is mifepristone, the second misoprostol.
The move follows a UK government decision last week, allowing for women up to 10 weeks of pregnancy to take both stages of the abortion pill procedure at home, after a telephone or e-consultation with a doctor, without ever actually seeing him or her in person. The UK government says the new regulations are limited for two years, or until the coronavirus crisis is over.
Pro-life medical professionals have noted the burden potentially placed on national medical resources by chemical abortions because of the potential for hemorrhage.
The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) says that while “elective abortion is neither ‘essential’ nor ‘urgent,’” it “does consume critical resources such as masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment, and unnecessarily exposes patients and physicians to pathogens.”
“Elective abortion, both surgical and drug induced, also generates more patients to be seen in already overburdened emergency rooms,” AAPLOG continued. “Most abortion providers instruct women to go to an emergency room if they have any concerning symptoms after the abortion. Approximately five percent of women who undergo medication abortions will require evaluation in an emergency room, most commonly for hemorrhage … Emergency room personnel – who are already struggling to meet the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic – will be further strained to provide care to these women.”