UK: Abortion at home approved during pandemic becomes permanent
The amendment that allows to take all abortion pills at home within the first 10 weeks passed by 215 votes to 188. “It will have dire consequences for women”, evangelicals say.
LONDON · 04 APRIL 2022 · 19:15 CET
The Members of the United Kingsom House of Commons have voted in favour of an amendment to the Health and Care Bill, to make ‘DIY’abortion at home rules permanent in England and Wales, by 215 votes to 188.
During the pandemic, the UK Government changed the rules to allow women, after a telephone or e-consultation with a clinician, to have early medical abortion (EMA) at home, taking two sets of abortion pills within the first 10 weeks of gestation.
Prior to the pandemic, only the second pill for EMA could be taken at home; the first set had to be administered by a doctor after an in-person consultation, to assess the woman or girl’s mental and physical health prior to the abortion.
The UK Government announced that the scheme would end on 29 August this year. However, early in March, when the draft law was going through the House of Lords, MP Baroness Sugg presented an amend to the Abortion Act 1967 to make the policy permanent and it passed.
CARE: “The safety of women in jeopardy by a slim majority of MPs”
The decision taken by the House of Commons on 30 March “was a close vote and many MPs spoke out about the dangers of the at home abortion scheme and we are grateful to each one for doing so”, Christian charity CARE said in an statement.
A CARE spoke woman pointed out that “it is sad that the safety of women has been placed in jeopardy by a slim majority of MPs”.
“The at home abortion is a great loss for unborn babies and will place women under emotional and physical pressure. We want to see women who experience the pain of a crisis pregnancy being made genuinely aware of the options open to them”, added CARE.
According to the Christian charity, “a better story for England and the rest of the UK involves respecting the value of life from conception through to natural end”.
Christian Concern: “This vote will have dire consequences for women”
Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, also stressed that “this vote will have dire consequences for women, who will not receive the proper medical support they need and more easily be coerced by partners and family members”.
“As Christians, we must redouble our efforts to care for the women harmed by this decision, offering the love and compassion of Jesus to all its victims”, underlined Williams.
Majority of British doctors against ‘DIY’ abortions
Last year, a national poll showed that the majority of the British doctors were concerned about the government’s medical at home abortion protocol.
They were worried about women having a medical abortion past the legal limit of ten weeks, or being coerced into an abortion by a partner or family member.
The Evangelical Alliance of the United Kingdom (EAUK) had already said that “there are much greater protections for women and their unborn children with in-person appointments” and that the EMA at home “means the lives of unborn children have been devalued”, so that “that measure must be ended immediately”.
Highest number of abortions in 2020
The UK reached its highest ever number of abortions in 2020 with over 210,800, according to the latest data from the UK Government as of 12 July 2021.
Despite these figures, on 5 July, the Parliament discussed the “New Clause 55”, which aimed to completely deregulated abortion in England and Wales. After a long debate, Prime Minister Boris Johnson decided not to push the amendment for a vote to a avoid a defeat.