Major UK Commons vote on abortion to take place on Wednesday

Major UK Commons vote on abortion to take place on Wednesday

On Wednesday, MPs will vote on an amendment that proposes making the biggest change to English abortion legislation since 1967.

The amendment would make ‘DIY’ home abortion available permanently and overturn the Government’s decision to end home abortion schemes that were temporarily allowed during the pandemic.

Last month, the Government in Westminster announced that the temporary provision, which allows abortions to take place entirely outside of a clinical setting, would be coming to an end in August this year.

However, the Conservative Peer, Baroness Sugg, since launched a bid to make ‘DIY’ abortion a permanent feature of the law in England by amending the Government’s Health and Care Bill. Her amendment was passed by 75 votes to 35 in the House of Lords amid confusion among Liberal Democrat Peers about whether or not they had a free vote.

The amendment, arranged for debate on Wednesday this week, will remove essential safeguards designed to protect women by helping to prevent coerced abortion and reducing the risk of complications.

70% of submissions against ‘DIY’ abortion

Ahead of their decision to end the provision for ‘DIY’ abortions, the Government released the results of a consultation on whether ‘DIY’ at-home abortion provision should be ended, which showed that 70% of submissions to the consultation supported ending the temporary policy immediately.

A number of significant problems have arisen since ‘DIY’ home abortions were introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the policy has left women and girls facing unplanned pregnancies to self-administer their own abortions at home without in-person medical supervision, reliable in-person safeguarding checks nor a routine in-person medical examination.

10,000 women had to receive hospital treatment following ‘DIY’ abortion

A study released in November 2021 suggested that more than 10,000 women had to receive hospital treatment following the use of medical abortion pills in England between April 2020 and September 2021.

In May 2020, UK police were investigating the death of an unborn baby after its mother took ‘DIY’ home abortion pills while 28 weeks pregnant.

A nationwide undercover investigation, undertaken by Kevin Duffy, a former Global Director of Clinics Development at MSI Reproductive Choices (formerly Marie Stopes International), found evidence of abortion providers putting women at significant risk by not carrying out basic checks before sending them ‘DIY’ home abortion pills. The investigation also discovered ‘DIY’ home abortion pills can easily be obtained and administered to others, potentially in a coercive manner.

A surge in 999 calls has also been documented in England and Wales in relation to women performing ‘DIY’ abortions.