UK should follow in footsteps of US and restrict DIY abortions - pro-life group

The US Supreme Court building in seen in Washington, DC.Reuters

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has welcomed a ruling from the US Supreme Court requiring women to collect abortion drugs from a hospital or doctor. 

The Supreme Court voted 6-3 in favour of upholding the regulation after abortion campaigners argued that it put women at risk due to the threat of coronavirus. 

SPUC said that keeping the requirement offers some safeguards for women having an abortion at home. 

It is now calling on the UK, which permits abortion pills to be sent to women in the mail, to follow suit and tighten regulations around at-home abortions. 

Michael Robinson, SPUC Director of Communications said: "Policies allowing DIY at home chemical abortion are bad, but at least a stipulation that a woman must see a doctor in the flesh provides some safeguards for women, especially vulnerable women.

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"We welcome this Supreme Court decision which protects women and we urge the UK government to reverse its dangerous DIY abortion policy."

The UK Government relaxed abortion rules after the start of the first lockdown last year so that women could take both abortion pills at home up to the tenth week of their pregnancy.

The pills can be sent to women in the post after a consultation with a doctor over the phone or by video. 

But SPUC and other pro-life groups have warned that the system puts vulnerable women at risk of coercion and is wide open to abuse. 

"With the whole chemical abortion process being done remotely, the abortion provider has no way of knowing who is really on the other end of the phone; if she is being coerced into an abortion, or if the abuser is in the room with her," Mr Robinson said.

"There is no way of knowing the gestation of a woman's pregnancy over the phone, which is crucial as the drugs are only supposed to be used up to 10 weeks. There is no way of knowing if she is following the medical protocols when taking the drugs, or if she'll be able to seek medical help if anything goes wrong.

"SPUC supports the Supreme Court's decision to uphold this regulation and we urge the UK government to reverse its dangerous DIY home abortion policy which is endangering women across the country."