‘DIY’ abortion scheme extended to August

The Government has announced that it is extending its scheme for unsupervised abortions by six months.

Health Minister Maggie Throup told the Commons that the scheme would now end on 29 August, before adding that “the Government’s view is that the provision of early medical abortion should return to pre-Covid arrangements”.

However, after Throup’s announcement, the Welsh Government announced that it would be making the scheme permanent. The Welsh Health Minister, Eluned Morgan, claimed the scheme was “a progressive step”.

Serious health concerns

Early in the pandemic, the Government introduced emergency measures allowing women who were under ten weeks pregnant to take two tablets at home to induce an abortion. The scheme was billed as ‘temporary’ and was supposed to stop at the end of next month.

Before Thursday’s announcement, Carla Lockhart MP urged ministers to end the scheme because it had “led to a series of serious health and safety concerns”.

She warned: “There are huge risks around coercion and abuse also; out of sight of the medical system, there is no guarantee that a woman taking medical abortion pills is doing so out of her own free will, nor that she is fully informed of her options.”

According to pro-abortion groups, more than 125,000 women have ordered the pills remotely between April 2020 and February 2022. But a Freedom of Information request last year found that at least 10,000 women have reportedly attended hospital suffering from serious side effects.

‘Very sad’

The Institute’s Ciarán Kelly said that it was “very sad” that the Government had chosen to extend the scheme.

“As well as ending the life of an unborn child, we know unsupervised, ‘DIY’ abortions put women at serious risk. The scheme should have been ended as quickly as it was brought in, not extended for another six months.”

But the British Pregnancy Advisory Service and the Labour Party called the Government’s unwillingness to make the scheme permanent, “shameful” and “barbaric”.

Also see:

Mythbuster: DIY abortion pills are neither simple nor safe

Senior medics call on Scot Govt to scrap DIY abortion scheme

Surge in 999 calls for women taking DIY abortion pills

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