Press Release

NHS email leak reveals ‘DIY’ abortions killing and harming pregnant women

31 July 2020         Issued by: Christian Concern

A leaked email has revealed the NHS raising urgent concerns to its staff on the ‘escalating risks’ of pregnant women experiencing serious harm, and even death, because of ‘DIY’ home abortions.

The email, sent by NHS England and NHS Improvement, discusses concerns raised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) with regional Chief Medical Officers and reveals serious incidents in the Midlands and the North West.

Sent on 21 May 2020, the email states that there are 13 incidents under investigation. These include a murder investigation into the death of a baby aborted alive, two maternal deaths, and abortion pills being delivered to a woman 22 weeks over the legal limit for home abortion.

Responding in today’s Sun newspaper, Nigel Acheson, the CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals, did not deny the contents of the email and said: “We are aware of a small number of serious incidents.”

Service supposed to protect women

The telemedicine service, run by abortion providers Marie Stopes UK and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), was allowed to take place during UK lockdown after an extraordinary double u-turn from the government on 30 March 2020.

Tragically and ironically, civil servants were told by abortion providers that ‘DIY’ pills in the post service was urgently needed during the pandemic to protect pregnant women’s lives from coronavirus by taking away the need to attend a clinic.

Christian Concern are urgently calling on the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to analyse abortion provider data in order to fully understand and investigate how many more women across the UK have been damaged by this service since it was introduced.

A judicial review, brought by Christian Concern on the government’s decision to allow women to have medical abortions at home with only a phone or video consultation, was heard at the Court of Appeal this week and judgment has been reserved.

The email

The email was marked as urgent and begins by stating that the CQC have been made ‘aware of an escalating risk around the ‘Pills by Post’ process’. It continues:

‘In the North West we are aware that there have been 2 maternal deaths linked to this issue also. One case where a woman was found at home the morning after starting the process and the second where a woman presented with sepsis and died very quickly in the A&E dept. Neither of these women were known to our maternity or gynae services as far as we are aware.’

In relation to issues in the Midlands, it says:

‘The incidents in the midlands range between women attending ED with significant pain and bleeding related to the process through to ruptured ectopics, major resuscitation for major haemorrhage and the delivery of infants who are up to 30 weeks gestation. There was also a near miss where a woman had received the pills by post and then wished for a scan so attended a trust and was found to be 32 weeks.  There are 3 police investigations in the Midlands linked to these incidents and one of those is currently a murder investigation as there is a concern that the baby was live born. The PM is being undertaken by a home office pathologist.’

Despite the clear harm the service is having on pregnant women in these regions, the email raises the concern that if changes are made this could have ‘a greater impact on women and girls choices.’

This statement is contrary to the fact that Abortion law isn’t framed as a choice. Abortions are only legal if there is a greater risk to the mother if the pregnancy continues than if it’s aborted, not just because the mother wants an abortion.

The email concludes:

“There is therefore a real need for us to better understand the outcomes for the women who are presenting to NHS services. The balance of risk both physically, mentally and for safeguarding is challenging especially without data.”

Dangerous royal college guidance

The cases that emerge in the leaked email are even more concerning in light of new guidelines released in June by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).

The measures for healthcare professionals providing abortions during the coronavirus crisis include guidelines on performing ‘feticide’, which involves actively killing a healthy baby in the womb by lethal injection, and then removing the body later.

The RCOG’s guidance include measures that pose serious risks to pregnant women. For example it states that if a pregnant woman has coronavirus and her “clinical condition prevents abortion, and she risks exceeding the gestation limit, feticide should be performed in collaboration with local fetal medicine services if necessary, to enable delay in the procedure to evacuate / empty the uterus.”

Disturbingly, this could mean ending the life of the unborn baby in the sixth month of pregnancy, and then leaving the dead body inside the woman for an indeterminate amount of time.

Individuals are suffering

Kevin Duffy, former Marie Stopes International global clinics director and expert witness in Christian Concern’s judicial review against the government, said: “Despite Nigel Acheson, the CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals, saying “We are aware of a small number of serious incidents”, we have to remember in every case an individual is suffering. Abortion providers and the government must not lose sight of the individual amongst the numbers, whether that be a mother, wife, a daughter or girlfriend who is suffering at this already highly vulnerable time.

“We know these cases are higher and are escalating due to self-referral, self-assessment and self-administration, whereas before lockdown there was face-to-face consultation and clinical assessment which would provide pregnant women with safe, comprehensive care.

“The cases exposed in this NHS email leak are just the cases in which women have presented at hospital. How many more cases are there across the country  where women have suffered more pain, bleeding and emotional harm than expected, but these have not been reported to the regulator by the abortion service providers?”

Service a dangerous lottery

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, said: “This leaked email is a shocking admission that those running abortion services in England have elevated ideology over women’s safety.

“Tragically, vulnerable pregnant women who have used the telemedicine service during UK lockdown to avoid coronavirus have died or experienced serious life-changing complications.

“The Abortion Act allows abortions where there is an increased risk to the mother’s physical or mental health if the pregnancy is continued. In each of these tragic cases, two lives have been unnecessarily lost – mother and baby.

“This further confirms the inherent danger of DIY abortions that we’ve been showing through our judicial review case – and shows how ideologues who show little concern for women – and no concern for babies – have captured NHS England as well as the providers and professional bodies.

“The ‘DIY’ abortion service is a dangerous lottery. We call on the Care Quality Commission to urgently analyse its data in order to fully understand and investigate how many more women across the UK have been damaged by this service since it was introduced by the government on March 30.” 


Leaked email:

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