More than 600 medics demand end to the ‘pills in the post’ abortion scheme

More than 600 medics have demanded that Boris Johnson end the controversial ‘pills in the post’ abortion scheme introduced at the start of lockdown.

In an open letter, they call for a reversal of the relaxation in abortion rules, citing evidence that some pills mailed after phone or online consultations were used when foetuses were beyond the stipulated ten-week limit – and even after the 24-week upper limit for surgical abortions. 

They argue that the new rules also made it easier for men to coerce women into abortions against their will and failed to protect girls who were being abused by adults, or women trafficked into prostitution.

Abortion providers BPAS and Marie Stopes, along with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives, are lobbying to make the so-called ‘telemedical abortions’ permanent [File photo]

Abortion providers BPAS and Marie Stopes, along with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives, are lobbying to make the so-called ‘telemedical abortions’ permanent [File photo]

Abortion providers BPAS and Marie Stopes, along with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives, are lobbying to make the so-called ‘telemedical abortions’ permanent [File photo]

‘The decision to permit the taking of medical abortion pills at home is a dangerous policy that must not be made permanent,’ the letter says, adding that the move should be revoked ‘to protect the welfare of women’.

A public consultation over whether to retain the policy beyond the pandemic concluded in February, and the Government is expected to announce its decision soon.

One signatory, Dr Calum Miller, of Oxford University, said an in-person medical examination was ‘a critical safety measure to check the gestation of the pregnancy’ and other possible medical issues, adding: ‘We should not be failing women by eliminating the checks.’

More than 600 medics have demanded that Boris Johnson end the controversial ‘pills in the post’ abortion scheme introduced at the start of lockdown [File photo]

More than 600 medics have demanded that Boris Johnson end the controversial ‘pills in the post’ abortion scheme introduced at the start of lockdown [File photo]

More than 600 medics have demanded that Boris Johnson end the controversial ‘pills in the post’ abortion scheme introduced at the start of lockdown [File photo]

The medics are supported by several Tory MPs, including Scott Benton, who said: ‘This not a debate about abortion itself, it is about ensuring women are safe.’

But abortion providers BPAS and Marie Stopes, along with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives, are lobbying to make the so-called ‘telemedical abortions’ permanent.

In a letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock last week, they said the policy had ‘allowed more than 100,000 women to end pregnancies from the comfort and privacy of their own homes’.

Clare Murphy, chief executive of BPAS, said: ‘There is no clinical argument for reinstating previous restrictions. More women than ever have been able to access the care they need thanks to these temporary changes.’

Women wanting an early medical abortion take two separate tablets. Until April last year, the first had to be taken at a clinic but the second could be taken at home. 

The rules were temporarily changed when the first lockdown was imposed so both pills could be sent in the post.

The Mail on Sunday previously reported that women have obtained pills as late as 32 weeks into pregnancy. Three police investigations into late abortions have been launched.

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