Disappointment after peers vote in favour of making DIY abortions permanent

"This is not how democratic governments are supposed to act," said Christian Concern chief executive Andrea Williams(Photo: Unsplash/Eva Dang)

A pro-life group has expressed its disappointment over a late night vote in the House of Lords in favour of making at-home abortions permanent. 

DIY early abortions were introduced as a temporary measure at the start of the pandemic but Westminster has confirmed that the scheme will be wound down at the end of August. 

Baroness Sugg introduced an amendment to the Health and Care Bill seeking to make the measure permanent. 

"I want to do what is right for women by giving them the option of being able to continue the service like they do in the US, Wales and elsewhere," Sugg told PoliticsHome.

"There is an ever-growing body of evidence proving that this is the right thing to do. It's safe, effective, better for women, better for the NHS and better for providers."

The amendment was carried by 75 votes to 35 on Wednesday night and will now be considered by the House of Commons. 

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) said it was "dismayed" by the result.

Alithea Williams, SPUC's Public Policy Manager, said it ignored the results of the government consultation in which a majority of responses opposed making DIY abortions permanent.

"It is very disappointing that a Healthcare bill has been hijacked to promote something that is not healthcare by any definition," she said.

"Instead, it is a way to end the lives of unborn children that bypasses even the few safeguards for women that the abortion law provides.

"Advocates of this dangerous policy say we must listen to women who are affected by it – they ignore the fact that in the Government consultation, 45% of the group of women who had accessed the pills by post service during the pandemic felt that there were benefits in relation to safeguarding and women's safety in requiring at least one visit to a service to be assessed by a clinician. This is more than twice the number (22%) who said that there would be disadvantages.

"It also ignores the evidence that 10,000 women have needed further hospital treatment after accessing this 'service'.

"The government made the right decision to end this policy after listening to the evidence, including the overwhelming results of the public consultation." 

SPUC is calling on MPs to reject DIY abortion when it reaches the Commons. 

"The DIY home abortion scheme has inflicted untold damage to countless mothers and their babies. It should be consigned to history, where it belongs," Ms Williams added.