The Department of Health and Social Care has made a U-turn on its previous decision not to license home abortions during the coronavirus crisis.
Under the new rules, any abortion up to 10 weeks will be permitted following a telephone or e-consultation with a doctor.
The measure will reportedly last for up to two years, or until the COVID-19 crisis is over.
A Department of Health spokesperson confirmed the news in a statement, saying: “We are updating our guidance so women who need an abortion up to ten weeks and can’t access a clinic can use abortion pills at home.
“This will be on a temporary basis and must follow a telephone or e-consultation with a doctor.”
The news follows pressure on the Government from pro-abortion groups and MPs to abandon existing protections in the law.
The Christian Institute’s Deputy Director for Communications Ciarán Kelly said: “This is a deeply disappointing decision.
“Only last week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock repeatedly assured the public that there were no plans to change the law. Backtracking like this is a grave mistake.
“Such a move places women as well the unborn at serious risk and flies in the face of all the good work being done in hospitals right now to preserve life.
“We urge the Health Secretary to reconsider.”