Abortion providers are breaking the law with DIY pills by post, says Christian Concern

(Photo: Unsplash/BadyQB)

Christian Concern has accused two major abortion providers of breaking the law with a postal service that mails out 'DIY' abortion pills to women wanting to terminate their pregnancies at home during the pandemic.

Abortion rules were relaxed after the UK went into lockdown to allow pregnant women to carry out terminations at home up to 10 weeks, but Christian Concern accuses Marie Stopes and BPAS (the British Pregnancy Advisory Service) of failing to perform adequate checks on gestation. 

Christian Concern used mystery volunteers to call up the providers to access abortion pills via their postal service.  The volunteers received the pills "despite using false names, dates of birth and gestational dates".

"In one case, the volunteer gave a date that could only have led to an abortion beyond the ten-week safety limit," Christian Concern said. 

The investigation follows an exposé in The Sun in May revealing eight real life cases where women were beyond the ten-week limit.  

In May, an investigation was launched after a woman in the Midlands received pills from BPAS to terminate her pregnancy at 28 weeks. 

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, said its investigation had raised questions about how many more women were able to obtain and self-administer abortion pills at home "in breach of the regulations". 

"We are for the women and we are trying to point out legitimate concerns about telemedicine services related to legal compliance, client safety, and quality of care," she said.

"These women need better client-centred counselling and a face-to-face consultation in which they can be assessed by a service provider before giving their consent to this procedure. A rushed telephone call, by voice only, is not the quality of care which these women deserve.

"The system is wide open to abuse from abusers, pimps, and human traffickers.

"Lockdown is over and now that restrictions are easing, we can safely reintroduce the clinic visit and an ultrasound assessment as part of the abortion care pathway." 

Clare Murphy, Director of External Affairs at BPAS, called the investigation a "meaningless exercise" and said the mystery volunteers "were all offered support and care entirely lawfully".

Marie Stopes said the mystery volunteers "were able to access safe care without risk to themselves or their families at a time when the NHS is under huge pressure and many services are not available".

The findings of Christian Concern's investigation were released as Parliament today considers amendments to the Domestic Abuse Bill aimed at decriminalising abortion and making DIY abortions at home permanent. 

"The amendments presented in parliament is not harmless but harmful and it is open to huge abuse. It needs to fail today," Ms Williams added. 

"Abortion pills through the post is a system that needs to be stopped immediately and a thorough investigation needs to occur around the legality and practices of the two major abortion providers in the UK."