Press Release

Parliament to vote on making Pills by Post abortion permanent

30 March 2022         Issued by: Christian Concern

Today in parliament, MPs will vote on making the government’s pills by post home abortion policy permanent.

The policy was introduced two years ago today, March 30, on a ‘temporary’ basis by Health Secretary Matt Hancock in response to the coronavirus.

On 24 February 2022, the government published its long-awaited response to the consultation on whether to U-turn on this promise and make pills by post abortions permanent.

Consultation results revealed that 70% of respondents wanted the service to end immediately.

The government then released a statement saying that the service would end by August 2022, with Minister for Vaccines and Public Health, MP Maggie Throup said: “The Government will end the temporary approval put in place at the beginning of the pandemic that allows women to take both pills for early medical abortion up to 10 weeks gestation at home. The temporary approval will end at midnight on 29 August 2022. From this point, the pre-COVID regulatory requirements for the provision of early medical abortion will be reinstated.”

The announcement followed news that there is a ‘culture clash’ in Downing Street on whether pills by post abortions should be abolished or become permanent.

However, with the eyes of the world focused on Ukraine, Conservative Peer, Baroness Sugg, launched a bid to make pills by post abortions a permanent feature of the law in England by amending the Government’s Health and Care Bill. Her amendment was passed at 1.10am by 75 votes to 35 in the House of Lords.

Now, the amendment, will be debated in the House of Commons today, March 30. If passed it will permanently remove the requirement for an in-person consultation, designed to protect women by helping to prevent coerced abortion and reducing the risk of complications.

Abortions at record high

Ever since March 2020, abortion providers in the UK have been legally permitted to send out by post the two pills that induce medical abortion.

This means that women who are under 10 weeks pregnant can currently request, receive and take these pills without any human contact other than a short telephone call, often with someone who is not medically qualified.

150,000 women are believed to have used the service and UK abortion rates are at an all-time high.

One woman has described the process of getting the abortion pills as “easier than getting a takeaway” and serious safety and ethical concerns have been repeatedly raised in parliament.

The service was introduced without parliamentary debate or scrutiny and has led to thousands of vulnerable women having unsafe and traumatic abortions at home without proper advice, medical supervision or aftercare.

Thousands of women who have taken both pills and had an abortion at home have had to call 999 for urgent support and have needed emergency surgery.

Kirsty’s story

In April 2020, Kirsty found out she was pregnant. She was shocked, but happy at the news. Initially she kept the pregnancy a secret, but once she told her partner, Kirsty was emotionally blackmailed and coerced into contacting an abortion provider.

“I was rushed through process over the phone,” she said. “It was all about where to send the pills to as I was close to being 10 weeks pregnant. I wanted a scan and to know whether the procedure would be safe. I thought I would have to go to hospital but was told I had to do it at home.

“After taking both abortion pills at home alone, I felt horrible and was shaking. The pain relief made me sick and I decided to try and sleep through it.

“When I woke up, I lifted up my blanket and it was like a scene out of a horror movie.

“The cramps were really bad, I felt blood down my legs, and it left a stain on the carpet. That is all I’ve got left of my baby now. I went to have a shower and I remember washing my baby down the shower drain.

“I was at a point where I did not want to wake up anymore. I’ve not just lost my baby; I’ve lost a part of me.
“I wish on the one call that I had that they would have been more compassionate and checked if I was sure I wanted to do it. I didn’t want to do it, but I was in a controlling and manipulative relationship.

“The home abortion is made to think you are doing it in the comfort of your own home. But instead, you have the memory of what you have done in your own home forever. My home is no longer my happy safe space, it is the place where I took away my child.”

Safety and data issues

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern said:

There is a huge danger that MPs will be hoodwinked today by abortion providers into believing that pills by post abortions are safe and should be made permanent. NHS data on complications women experience, which the government has admitted it does not hold centrally, proves this is a dangerous service which must end immediately.

“MPs must honour the promise made on the floor of the House of Commons in March 2020 that this would be a temporary measure that would last for two years or as long as the pandemic lasted.

“The policy was put in place after a double u-turn from the government during the chaos of the first lockdown. Ministers at the time told parliament they would not allow at-home abortions, warning of the dangers the policy would cause to women. Their fears were entirely founded, though abortion providers have done all they can to whitewash its appalling safety record.”

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