News Politics: At-home abortion pills will be made permanently available to women in England and Wales from the end of the month, the government has announced.
It allowed women to have early medical abortions at home, by taking two pills within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.
So-called “pills by post” were made temporarily available when the COVID pandemic struck in March 2020.
News earlier this year that the temporary provision was due to be scrapped was branded by critics as a “regression in women’s rights”.
Conservative MP Laura Trott said at the time that retaining the service was “a matter for human dignity, for women’s dignity”.
The measure was also supported by Clare Murphy, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), who said the at-home pills made it easier for vulnerable women to access abortions. The Department for Health said today that the Abortion Act was being amended to allow permanent access to remote early medical abortions, with doctors having to certify in “good faith” that the gestation period was below 10 weeks.
Doctors will also be required to record information on place of termination, place of consultation, and whether the consultation was fully remote. This additional data will allow for analysis of trends in abortion provision and better understanding of the use of remote services.
National safeguarding guidance will be published shortly by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health concerning under-18s accessing early medical abortions. This is to ensure the “continued safety of children and young people”.
“With these measures women will have more choice in how and where they access abortion services, while ensuring robust data is collected to ensure their continued safety.” Minister for public health, Maggie Throup, said: “The wellbeing and safety of women requiring access to abortion services is paramount.