Early at-home abortions could be a permanent service

During the pandemic, women have been able to take both pills required for an early medical abortion at home.

Early abortions at home could become a permanent service once coronavirus is no longer a threat.

During the pandemic, women have been able to take both pills required for an early medical abortion at home, where it is considered clinically appropriate.

A wide range of views – including women who have had the treatment – are being sought through a consultation on making the current arrangements permanent.

Early medical abortions at home will remain in place as long as the virus remains a risk.

Public health minister Joe FitzPatrick said: “All women in Scotland should have access to clinically safe abortion services, within the limits of the law, should they require this.

“The current arrangements were put in place to minimise the risk of transmission of Covid-19 and ensure continued access to abortion services, without delays, during this pandemic.

“This consultation will allow us to gather as much evidence as possible to help inform future arrangements.”

The consultation has been welcomed by Abortion Rights Scotland who say at home medical abortions have been a “vital service for women” during the pandemic.

Jillian Merchant, from Abortion Rights Scotland, said: “We welcome the consultation by the Scottish Government to consider telemedicine for early medical abortion on a permanent basis.

“Covid-19 has forced Government and politicians to realise that our abortion laws are no longer fit for purpose or in line with modern medicine. 

“The introduction of telemedicine during the pandemic has been a vital service for women seeking an abortion during this time. 

“Telemedicine on a permanent basis would prevent thousands of women making multiple unnecessary journeys to GPs and hospitals in order to access abortion services.   

“Telemedicine for early medical abortions is a safe and effective practice – already recommend by expert bodies – with no clinical reason why, after the necessary consultation, both abortion pills can be prescribed, delivered and taken at home.”

However Micheal Robinson of pro-life campaign group The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (Scotland), said: “The home abortion provision is a travesty that should never have been introduced.

“Allowing women to take powerful drugs at home, alone, with no medical supervision shows a complete lack of care and respect for women, as well as further devaluing the value of human life in the womb.

“Whether or not an unborn baby should be killed is not something that should ever be debated in consultations. However, we welcome the opportunity to highlight the particular horrors of the home abortion regime, and to argue that women and babies deserve better.

“Our supporters up and down the country will certainly be making their voices heard.” 


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