In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Kingdom has instituted a two year at-home abortion pilot program called “Pills by Post.”
Current UK law only permits abortions in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy and has historically exercised strict oversight over the usage of chemical abortion pills. However, the details of this new program demonstrate that women’s health and safety has been tossed out in favor of cost-effectiveness and speed.
It is run by British Pregnancy Advisory Service, a government-affiliated NGO, who specialize in abortion. After a telephone consultation (no video and no proof of pregnancy), pills are sent by mail to a woman who is supposed to take them in her home. There is no follow up care through the BPAS, and she is told to go to a local hospital in the event complications arise.
There is no oversight to ensure:
· that she is an appropriate candidate for the drugs (pregnancy is less than 70 days gestation and not ectopic),
· that she will receive necessary follow up (such as treatment for Rh incompatibility), or
· that the woman on the phone is the woman taking the drugs (no coercion or abuse).
Not surprisingly, the government is already uncovering cases of misuse in the first weeks of the program.
In the most egregious case, police are investigating the abortion of a 28-week baby by at-home chemical abortion, four weeks past the UK’s 24-week limit and 18 weeks past the limit for the chemical abortion pill. There are several other cases of women taking the drugs after the 70-day cut off that are also under investigation.
This program confirms our worries that at-home abortion is dangerous for women and will lead to illegal, late-term abortions.
Women should not be left to decide how much blood is too much blood before they call 911. The pilot program shows that when convenience is the driving factor, women’s safety is the cost.
Katie Glenn, J.D.
Government Affairs Counsel
Americans United for Life