Britain’s largest abortion provider has lost a controversial battle in the High Court which would have allowed women to have abortions at home.
BPAS, formerly the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, was seeking to change the interpretation of the law so that women could take the second set of drugs necessary to induce an early medical abortion whilst at home.
The abortion provider, which is heavily subsidised by the taxpayer, had claimed that the second trip to take the pill at a clinic or hospital was “medically unnecessary”.
But earlier this week Mr Justice Supperstone ruled in favour of the Department of Health which insisted that the administration of both sets of drugs amounted to “treatment” under the Abortion Act and so must take place on medical premises.
The decision has been welcomed by pro-life groups.
Katherine Hampton, a spokeswoman for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), said: “If BPAS had won this case, it would send out the false signal that there is a ‘safe’ route to abortion.
“That could lead to more abortions, and more dead babies and more suffering for women.
“It would also have led to further restrictions on conscientious objection to abortion by doctors and nurses.”
She continued: “The significance of this case is important internationally too, as chemical abortions are widely promoted in poorer countries, and any move to widen the practice here may adversely affect unborn babies and women around the world.
“We will continue to fight any similar moves to trivialise abortion”, she concluded.
BPAS is heavily funded with public money as 90 per cent of their work is commissioned by the NHS. The group’s latest published accounts show an annual income of over £25 million, but only £17,000 of that came from donations.
Early medical abortions, which can be carried out in the first nine weeks of a pregnancy, are induced by taking two sets of tablets between 24 and 48 hours apart.
These pills must currently be taken under medical supervision at either a clinic or hospital.
Last April it was revealed that the number of NHS trusts planning to or already offering early term abortions in GP surgeries had tripled in the past year.
A publication for doctors, GP magazine, revealed that 17 health trusts were either offering or were planning to offer abortions for women up to nine weeks pregnant.
During 2009 a staggering 195,743 abortions were performed in England and Wales, with a further 13,005 terminations being performed in Scotland.
And last year the NHS released new statistics revealing that tens of thousands of British women are having multiple abortions.
The official stats revealed that, of the abortions carried out on women resident in England and Wales, 63,309 – 34 per cent of the total – were for women who had previously had at least one abortion.
Abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland, except in cases where the mother’s life is at risk.