DIY Abortion Policy History
In March 2020, just before the first national lockdown began, a notice appeared on the government website, which appeared to allow women to conduct their own medical abortions at home.
Outcry followed and the notice was removed, the government confessing that it had been ‘published in error’. Any visitors to the website were reassured that there would “be no changes to abortion regulations.”
Back in Parliament, Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, assured the House of Commons that “We have no proposals to change any abortion rules as part of the covid-19 response.” And Health Minister Lord Bethell told the House of Lords, “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.”
Yet, just days later, the government made an extraordinary U-turn, amending abortion regulations to allow women to abort their child at home.
Since then, over 70,000 women in England and Wales in the UK, have undergone DIY home abortion
Debate on 24th March 2021
Going Back Further
While the introduction of DIY home abortion, also known as Early Medical Abortion (EMA) , 'Pills by Post" abortion or 'telemed' abortion marks the biggest change to abortion provision since the Abortion Act of 1967 it follows in a series of successful attempts by the Abortion Industry to get abortion out of clinics and into homes.
In 27th December 2018, in the lull between Christmas and New Year, Health Secretary, Matt Hancock approved of the home use of the second abortion pill (misoprostol) at home following an in clinic assessment. The approval stipulated:
The first pill (mifipristone) had been taken in the clinic
The pregnancy had not exceeded 9 weeks and 6 days.
Similar approval followed in Wales and Scotland.
Since 2018 the abortion industry and their allies at the Royal College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians (RCOG) have been pushing hard to further extend these measures. Just one example of this incremental push was in the 2019 NICE Guidelines, that specifically recommended women 'self refer' for abortion and introduces the prospect of post abortion follow up over the phone. The RCOG relied heavily upon this and research from the abortion industry when they pushed for these changes.