LONDON, February 14, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The UK’s High Court has ruled against an attempt by one of the country’s busiest abortionist groups to allow the use of the deadly abortion drug regimen RU 486 at home without medical supervision. The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) issued a statement saying it is “disappointed” in the ruling by Justice Michael Supperstone in London today.
The procedure that the abortion industry calls an “early medical abortion” involves two stages: the mother first takes a dose of the mifepristone, which kills the unborn child, and then takes a second drug, misoprostol, which induces labour. The woman then gives birth to a dead child.
BPAS had sued the government to change the 1967 Abortion Act to allow the second, labour-inducing dose to be self-administered, allowing the mother to deliver her dead child at home. The government argued that the Act, as amended in 1990, required women to take both first and second doses under supervision in a hospital or other medical premises.
The court noted that it is already the common practice at BPAS abortion facilities to send the woman home immediately after taking the second drug, with written instructions for care. The more common practice of National Health Service hospitals is to keep the woman in the hospital for 3 to 6 hours, or “until the expulsion of the pregnancy.”
Nadine Dorries, a Conservative MP who has campaigned for more restrictions on abortion, criticised the BPAS suit, saying that allowing the drug to be used by women at home without medical supervision would put them in danger.
The BPAS plan would result, she told media, in “very young girls going home with a couple of tablets alone in their bedroom, to experience pain in a way they have never experienced.”
“They will have no professional help or assistance at hand, and they will not know when the pain is too great and the bleeding is too much, or whether they should seek further help and advice. I don’t think we want to see young girls frightened and alone without the right advice.”
Justice Supperstone ruled that it is up to the Secretary of State for Health to decide the issue: “The Claimant acknowledges that the effect, and indeed the very purpose, of the declaration sought would be that the Secretary of State’s approval is no longer needed to enable the home to be designated as an approved place for the purposes of section 1 of the Act. In my view this would be directly contrary to Parliament’s clear intention.”
The court ruling also warned of the danger to women, saying that the change “would apply to the prescription and administration of the abortifacient drug at any stage of pregnancy, not merely up to nine weeks’ gestation.”
“It would also apply to the administration of abortifacients which did not enjoy the same record of safety and effectiveness, at home, as those currently administered have demonstrated in countries outside Great Britain.”
Supperstone allowed, however, that Section 1(3A) of the Abortion Act as amended in 1990 leaves room for the Secretary of State for Health to react to “changes in medical science” to change the current policy on where chemical abortions are carried out.
“He has the power to approve a wider range of place, including potentially the home, and the conditions on which such approval may be given relating to the particular medicine and the manner of its administration or use.”
Paul Tully, general secretary of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), an intervener in the case, said that one of the group’s main concerns was the safety of women.
“It is well established that drug-induced abortion has a high rate of incomplete abortion and other immediate complications like hemorrhage. These are serious safety concerns.”
SPUC said it was also concerned about the impact the case could have on nurses.
Tully said that if BPAS’s request were granted, “it could seriously undermine the right of nurses not to take part in abortions.”
BPAS had argued that administering abortion drugs is not “treatment” according to the definition in the act. This would mean it could be done anywhere. Tully said that if the court had accepted that argument, “those nurses who object to abortion could lose the statutory right to refuse to give abortion drugs.”
BPAS, he said, “displayed a disturbing lack of knowledge about the way abortion drugs work.”
“For example, it asserted that the second drug used in the typical two-stage chemical abortion process, will not cause an abortion when used on its own. This is incorrect. Either of the drugs can cause an abortion. They are used together to try to reduce the number of incomplete abortions and severe side effects.”
In the years since it was first introduced, RU 486 has been found to cause a wide range of side effects, some of which can be fatal to the woman. These have included hemorrhage requiring blood transfusion, severe pain, incomplete abortion, rupture of the uterus, vaginal bleeding, difficulty in breathing, chest pain, palpitations, rise in temperature and fall in blood pressure.