Top doctors call for allowing women to take abortion pill in the comfort of their own home, following in the footsteps of Scotland and Wales
- Doctors have called for women to be allowed to take abortion pills at home
- Women are currently required to take the two tablets in a clinic or hospital
Leading doctors have called for women to be allowed to take abortion pills at home.
Currently, women are required to take the two tablets in a clinic or hospital supervised by a nurse.
But this often results in them having to deal with cramps or bleeding on their way home, sometimes on public transport.
Scotland and Wales recently changed the law to allow women to take the second pill at home.
Now two medical bodies have joined forces with abortion providers to urge Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to do the same in England.
Leading doctors have called for women to be allowed to take abortion pills at home
But pro-life campaigners claim it would be akin to licensing ‘DIY’ or ‘back-street’ abortions.
The calls come from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health, and British Society of Abortion Care Providers.
Writing in the BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health journal, they demand that Mr Hunt allow women ‘compassion, respect and dignity’. They say: ‘There can be no justification not to act unless the aim is to punish women having a legal abortion.’
About a third of women in England will have had an abortion by 45. The majority undergo so-called medical terminations, which involve taking two pills, mifepristone and misoprostol, between 24 and 48 hours apart.
The tablets are considered safe but cause many women severe pain and nausea.
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Professor Lesley Regan, president of the RCOG, said: ‘The need for the second visit to the clinic frequently acts as a barrier to women accessing safe, regulated abortion care, and is medically unnecessary and incurs significant NHS costs. Many women also experience the distress and embarrassment of bleeding and cramping during their journey home.’
Professor Regan, who last September called for women to be able to get abortions as easily as having their bunions removed, added: ‘We urge Jeremy Hunt to extend the same dignity that the Scottish and Welsh governments have offered to women.’
The calls come from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health, and British Society of Abortion Care Providers
But Dr Anthony McCarthy, of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said: ‘It is scandalous that medics in league with the abortion industry should rush to betray women and their unborn babies.
‘Not only can medical abortion be very painful physically, but it can sometimes lead to women bleeding to death.’
The two medical bodies, which represent a total of 21,000 doctors and nurses, point out that women are already allowed to take the second pill at home if they have suffered ‘missed miscarriage’ – where they discover a foetus is no longer growing during a pregnancy, but their body has not expelled it naturally. Scotland allowed women to take the abortion pill at home in October last year, with Wales following last month.
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children has taken the Scottish government to court over the policy, with a decision due within weeks.
A Department of Health spokesman said: ‘We will continue to monitor the evidence and will await the outcome of the judicial review in Scotland.’
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