The High Court has ruled that the Government’s change to abortion law to allow home abortions was legal, despite concerns the new measure puts women’s safety at risk.
As part of its coronavirus measures, the Government changed the law to permit women up to ten weeks pregnant to take abortion pills at home after a telephone or e-consultation with a doctor.
The change – which was made just days after Health Secretary Matt Hancock gave assurances there would be no changes to abortion law – will remain in place until the COVID-19 crisis recedes.
The legal challenge against the Government was brought by Christian Concern. It argued that Ministers responsible for the change had not taken into account the psychological and physical impact abortion can have on women.
Lawyers for Christian Concern also argued that women could be more easily coerced into an abortion, that someone could take an abortion pill prescribed for another person, and that there are no guarantees the pills will be taken within the ten-week window.
Michael Phillips, acting on behalf of the group, said the Health Secretary “was not given the full picture by civil servants being informed by members of the abortion lobby, so it appears that those civil servants in practice acted as lobbyists for abortionists”.
Christian Concern has said it will appeal the decision.
Chief Executive Andrea Williams said: “Today’s judgment is disappointing but not the end of the road. The evidence in this case clearly shows the abortion industry exerting overwhelming pressure on the Department of Health with misleading information.
“While Parliament was shut down, clear promises and assurances were broken by the government on flimsy, biased and incomplete evidence given by abortion industry insiders with access to top civil service activists”.