The Daily Telegraph reports : Women would be allowed to have early medical abortions at home after the Covid-19 threat passes in England and Scotland under controversial proposals published by ministers.
Both the Scottish and UK governments passed emergency laws allowing pregnant women to take the two drugs required for a termination at home during the pandemic.
‘Women in Scotland should have access to clinically safe abortion services, within the limits of the law’
But SNP ministers yesterday proposed keeping the arrangement in Scotland after the virus is no longer deemed a major risk to public health, meaning women would no longer have to attend a hospital clinic.
They opened a public consultation on the change, which stated it would be easier for women in remote areas and cited research showing the “great majority” prefer “not requiring an in person appointment and being able to stay at home”.
But the document admitted that there were concerns that some women “may underestimate the gestation of their pregnancy”, raising the risk that women may mistakenly take the pills after the 24-week legal abortion limit.
The UK Government promised to publish a similar consultation for England shortly for early medical abortion up to 10 weeks’ gestation. Pro-life campaigners yesterday warned there have been cases in England of babies dying in recent months “after their mothers took the pills when months past the legal and medical limit, and abortion providers have been found to be sending out the pills without even basic checks”.
Under Scotland’s rules, early medical abortion occurs in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, with the woman taking two pills to end the pregnancy.
Since lockdown started, women can be prescribed both drugs to be taken at home following a video or telephone appointment with a doctor or nurse.
Unveiling the consultation, Joe FitzPatrick, the Scottish Government public health minister, said: “All women in Scotland should have access to clinically safe abortion services, within the limits of the law.”
However, Michael Robinson, of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (Scotland), said: “The home abortion provision is a travesty that should never have been introduced.”