Challenging the government’s double U-turn on DIY abortion

3 April 2020

Christian Concern has launched legal action, seeking a Judicial Review of the government’s double U-turn on DIY abortions.

The legal change, forced through without any debate or scrutiny, officially recognises a pregnant woman’s home as a place where abortion can take place without medical supervision or clinical care.

The government’s decision goes against its own warnings and will put thousands of lives at risk at an already highly vulnerable time.

The legal challenge will argue that the government’s decision process was made without any public consultation, parliamentary scrutiny or debate and therefore was unlawful and must be urgently reversed.

You can read our legal challenge to the government.

Forced through under the radar

The story began under the radar hours before the unprecedented national lock down on 23 March. On Twitter, the Department for Health and Social Care announced that the biggest change to abortion law since 1967 would be made.

Just hours after pro-life groups, including Christian Concern, responded quickly through the media and political lobbying, the announcement was pulled from the government’s website.

Subsequent visitors to the web page found the following message: “The information on this page has been removed because it was published in error. This was published in error. There will be no changes to abortion regulations.”

This was followed by the Health Secretary, Matthew Hancock, categorically stating in parliament on 24 March that: “There are no proposals to change the abortion rules due to covid-19.”

Health minister rejected amendments

The ‘administrative error’ to introduce DIY abortions was then brought before the House of Lords by the pro-abortion lobby as part of a proposed amendment to the Coronavirus Bill.

In response, Health Minister, Lord Bethell rejected strongly on behalf of the government the proposed changes to abortion law, stating:

“….we do not agree that women should be able to take both treatments for medical abortion at home. We believe that it is an essential safeguard that a woman attends a clinic, to ensure that she has an opportunity to be seen alone and to ensure that there are no issues.”

In a conclusive and detailed statement, he also said: “It is not right to rush through this type of change in a sensitive area such as abortion without adequate parliamentary scrutiny.”

Government went against its own warnings

This was good news, but at Christian Concern, we know that the abortion lobby never gives up. Last weekend in the Sunday Times a story broke that the government, despite its statements during the week, was planning a double U-turn on the decision.

On Monday 30 March the official announcement was made that “the home of a pregnant woman” was now a ‘class of place’ where an abortion can take place without medical supervision.

Before this legislation, abortions could only take place in hospitals or abortion clinics approved by the Secretary of State.

Under the new temporary policy, doctors will be able to prescribe mifepristone and misoprostol over the phone or video platforms such as Facetime or Skype.

‘We are meant to be living in a democracy’

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, said:

Life matters, process matters, justice matters. 

“That is why we are seeking to launch this Judicial Review. The government has not only acted unlawfully in changing the law on abortion without due process, it has also shown flagrant disregard for God’s gift of life.

“This is not how democratic governments are supposed to act, this is not how a compassionate government and society should be. We want to live in a culture that is pro-life, not pro-death.

At the heart of this story and case is the tragic reality that thousands of pre-born babies lives will be taken as a result of this new law. Thousands of women will be put at risk and will suffer more trauma, not less.   

“The coronavirus crisis is being exploited to make changes to the law which would not be possible if parliament was functioning properly.

“This is nothing less than a fight to stand for the pre-born child and to preserve our hard-won democratic freedoms which do not allow the government to make changes to the law on a whim with no accountability.

“It cannot go unchallenged and we ask for your prayers and support as we take this urgent case forward.”

Give today to support God’s gift of life

Our legal team is already hard at work, preparing to challenge to the government’s actions.

If you’re able, please donate today to help us stand up for God’s precious gift of life. Every gift makes a difference. No amount is too small.

You can give quickly and easily online, or over the telephone by calling 020 3327 1122 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Find out more about DIY abortions
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