Abortion Pill

UK reverses course, decides to allow ‘no-test’ abortion pill at home permanently

abortion pill, telemedicine abortion

Members of the UK Parliament have decided to allow women to continue to take the abortion pill alone, at home, with no in-person visit to a physician. The decision is a reversal of a February announcement by the Department of Health and Social Care to end the dangerous practice, which had been allowed on a temporary basis during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As in the US, there has been considerable concern in the UK surrounding the abortion pill’s safety. One study found that more than 10,000 women needed hospital treatment after taking abortion pills. Studies have also found that the use of the abortion pill is four times more dangerous than surgical abortion — despite the fact that many complications go unreported.

One of the problems with receiving the abortion pill regimen over the phone or through a telemedicine appointment rather than an in-person exam is that doctors are unable to accurately test for a preborn child’s gestational age. One 16-year-old named Savannah told BBC News that she was prescribed the abortion pill regimen after a phone call with the abortion facility estimated her to be around 8 weeks pregnant. In reality, she was 20 or 21 weeks pregnant, and her use of the abortion pill caused major complications that required her to be transported to the hospital by ambulance.

Savannah explained that the incident traumatized her. “If they scanned me and I knew that I was that far gone, then I would have had him,” she said.

READ: Case against UK doctor offering abortion pill reversal dropped

Unfortunately, Savannah’s experience isn’t unique. Studies show administering the abortion pill past 10 weeks causes a significant increase in the procedure’s failure rate, yet 14% of women underestimate the gestational age of their child. In fact, the pill fails up to 38% of the time when taken in the second trimester. Botched abortions resulting in the abortion pill’s failure often lead to serious complications for both the mother and her child.

Catherine Robinson, spokesperson for Right to Life UK, expressed her dismay with Parliament’s decision. “The group of MPs who have voted for this amendment have voted to remove vital safeguards including an in-person appointment with a medical professional. This will put thousands more women at risk from ‘DIY’ home abortion services,” she said, according to Catholic News Agency.

“By removing a routine in-person consultation that allows medical practitioners to certify gestation and recognise potential coercion or abuse, ‘at-home’ abortion has presented serious risks to women and girls in abusive situations. It has allowed severe complications to occur, as well as abortions beyond the legal limit, as abortion providers currently cannot ensure the pills are taken by the intended individual within the appropriate time frame,” she added.

According to The Guardian, more than 150,000 women in the UK have taken abortion pills at home since the practice was legalized in 2020.

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