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UK changes law for third time in a week, again allows home abortions amid coronavirus

A pro-life group is considering a legal challenge of the new law.
Mon Mar 30, 2020 - 1:29 pm EST
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LONDON, United Kingdom, March 30, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The U.K. government has again authorized women to kill their preborn children at home by using both stages of a chemical abortion process during the coronavirus pandemic, after announcing the change last week and then reversing the decision within 24 hours.

A government spokesperson from the Department of Health and Social Care said yesterday that the change is being made on a temporary basis only and is time-limited for two years, or until the coronavirus crisis is over.

“Public safety and continued access to key services is our priority during this difficult period,” the spokesperson said.

“We are updating our guidance so women who need an abortion up to ten weeks and can’t access a clinic can use abortion pills at home. This measure will be on a temporary basis and must follow a telephone or e-consultation with a doctor. We will set out the next steps, including updated guidance, shortly.”

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) says the move breaches existing abortion legislation. The group has sought legal advice with a view to mounting a judicial review opposing the new policy.

“In light of the confirmation that the Government has changed the policy on abortion to allow both abortion pills to be used at home, SPUC has instructed its legal team to examine the new proposals with a view to instigating judicial review proceedings against the policy,” SPUC’s deputy CEO John Deighan said after the announcement.

“It is our understanding that such a policy is beyond the scope of the Abortion Act. However, we will closely examine the policy and take appropriate action based on the best legal advice.”

Deighan criticized the government’s handling of the issue in the last week as an “utter fiasco.”

He said: “What we are witnessing is a shambolic and rudderless government which has made no less than three contradictory statements in a matter of days.”

For several hours last week there existed a formal policy on the U.K. government website that legalized “DIY” abortions. An official letter, published on the Department of Health website, and signed by Mark Davies, Director of Population Health, classed the home of a doctor as a place where abortion could be prescribed and the home of the woman as the place where the abortion could take place. 

But later the same evening the document on the Department of Health website was removed. And last Tuesday morning, the government website stated: “The information on this page has been removed because it was published in error. This was published in error. There will be no changes to abortion regulations.”

Condemning the new government decision, Deighan said: “They are paying lip service to those who back the right to life while pandering to the deadly demands of the pro-abortionists who want to use this time of the coronavirus crisis to make it even easier to kill unborn babies.”

Deighan pointed out that last week the Health Secretary was very clear when telling Parliament that there would be no change in the law in this area and the dangers to women were strongly expressed in the House of Lords.

Deighan also highlighted that less than a week ago, Lord Bethell, the Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said:  “...we do not agree that women should be able to take both treatments for medical abortion at home. We believe that it is an essential safeguard that a woman attends a clinic, to ensure that she has an opportunity to be seen alone and to ensure that there are no issues.” 

Echoing concerns raised by SPUC, Lord Bethell also asked at the time:

“Do we really want to support an amendment that could remove the only opportunity many women have, often at a most vulnerable stage, to speak confidentially and one-to-one with a doctor about their concerns on abortion and about what the alternatives might be? The bottom line is that, if there is an abusive relationship and no legal requirement for a doctor’s involvement, it is far more likely that a vulnerable woman could be pressured into have an abortion by an abusive partner.”

Deighan said that SPUC is seeking top-level legal advice as a matter of urgency and that the organization “will not think twice about resorting to court action in a bid to save the lives of unborn babies and protect the health of their mothers who may well be put at risk by this policy.”

Deighan added:

Let it be crystal clear: any medical professional must act in compliance of the law. SPUC is therefore contesting home abortion pill use which heightens physical and psychological dangers for women, and as trivialising the taking of human life by abortion.

It is unbecoming of the pro-abortion groups to take advantage of our current crisis to pressure the government and threaten further strain on our NHS resources. The evidence that abortion pills raise the level of complications for women is clear. Our health service does not need the pressure of dealing with emergencies arising from women self-aborting at home.


  abortion, abortion pill, coronavirus, united kingdom

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