Jacob Rees-Mogg has said it is “incredibly important” that safeguards against unsupervised ‘DIY’ abortions are reinstated “as soon as possible”.
The Leader of the House of Commons was responding to a question from Fiona Bruce MP after the Government announced it could make at-home abortions a permanent option despite originally calling it a ‘temporary measure’.
He reiterated that the Government has no official policy on abortion, but added that his personal view is that the regulations cannot remain as they are indefinitely.
Under the current regulations, women are permitted to take abortion pills at home for any reason up to ten weeks, following a telephone or e-consultation with a doctor. However, it was revealed earlier this year that there were at least nine cases of women taking the pills after the ten-week limit.
In one case, a baby died after its mother took abortion pills while 28 weeks pregnant and two women died after taking the drugs.
Speaking in the Commons chamber, Bruce asked: “Does the Leader share concerns about the safety of women, following accounts of serious medical complications after some women have taken abortion pills at home as is temporarily allowed during this pandemic?
“And shouldn’t we therefore be looking to revert back as soon as possible to confidential in-person consultations being available for all women before such serious procedures are undertaken?”
‘Deeply troubling issue’
Responding on behalf of the Government, Rees-Mogg said: “My Honourable Friend is absolutely right to raise this deeply troubling issue, and it is important that safeguards that used to be in place are put back in place as soon as possible.
“Of course, anything to do with abortion is not a matter where the Government has a policy, so it is a matter for one’s own private conscience. But the Honourable Lady knows that her conscience and my conscience align on this matter.”
Earlier this month, the Government confirmed it will consult on making the emergency laws permanent.
The measures were originally set to last for two years, or until the end of the coronavirus pandemic, whichever came first. But Lord Bethell, Minister for Innovation, stated that there will be a public consultation “on permanent home use of both pills for early medical abortion”.