The UK Government is to hold a public consultation on whether to allow women to carry on accessing home abortions, even after the coronavirus legislation has ceased to have effect.
Victoria Atkins made the announcement in the House of Commons yesterday during the Report Stage and Third Reading of the Domestic Abuse Bill.
Current arrangements that allow women to take both abortion pills at home will continue until the consultation has concluded.
When the coronavirus pandemic struck, the UK Government decided to temporarily allow women to take both abortion pills at home.
Abortion pills can currently be prescribed by a doctor over the phone or on a video call. The pills will then be posted to women at home in a process known as ‘telemedicine’. It’s currently available to women up to 9 weeks and 6 days gestation.
This policy was due to end when the temporary provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020 finished or at the end of March 2022.
Late last week, an amendment was tabled to the Domestic Abuse Bill by Diana Johnson MP to extend these temporary arrangements for victims of domestic abuse beyond the covid-19 restrictions.
However, the UK Government said it did not believe this change should happen via an amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill and instead said it wanted to hold a public consultation on the issue.
Strikingly, the Minister said the consultation would be on allowing all women to do DIY abortions at home, not just victims of domestic abuse. In this sense, the consultation will go further than Ms Johnson’s amendment.
With many MPs speaking out against the home abortion amendment, it was eventually withdrawn in a major victory for pro-life campaigners.
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