DIY home abortion policy during pandemic shocks

Britain’s DIY home abortion policy during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has shocked the Catholic bishops of England and Wales.

The Auxiliary Bishop John Sherrington of Westminster says changing the rules to allow abortion pills to be taken in homes would “further endanger women” during a time of national crisis.

The British government is waiving a legal requirement for women seeking abortions to visit two doctors before the procedure can go ahead. The change in policy aims to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The new procedure requires a woman to consult with one doctor or other medical professional by “telemedicine”, using apps like Skype or Facetime.

If the medical professional agrees, women in the early stages of pregnancy can obtain their abortions by taking two pills at home.

Sherrington, who is the lead bishop for life issues for the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, says the policy is dangerous and should be rescinded.

“We recognise that the NHS is under unique pressure,” he says.

“We understand why the government wishes to keep women away from hospital at this time but are shocked to hear that the Secretary of State for Health plans to introduce temporary measures to allow telemedicine and early DIY abortion at home without any medical supervision present.”

The change in rules is a U-turn from the government’s views less than a week ago, Sherrington says.

At that time, the government resisted pressure to change the rules that medical supervision was an “essential safeguard” of the health of women from possible complications arising from the use of the drugs.

“Why is it no longer essential?” Sherrington asks.

“These measures fundamentally change access to abortion in England and Wales for the foreseeable future.

“While these are emergency times, these measures further endanger women who, for example, are rushed into decisions by abusive partners and act without any proper consultation.

“They diminish the seriousness with which these decisions should be taken and the physical and psychological dangers of the administration of these drugs at home,” he says.

In the days before the UK Parliament closed because of the pandemic, pro-abortion politicians attempted to amend the Coronavirus Bill to make it easier for women to obtain abortions, but the government resisted.

The emergency policy has since been introduced without public consultation, parliamentary scrutiny or debate, according to Right to Life.

The pro-life group describes the move as “the biggest change to abortion provision since 1967,” when abortion was legalised under certain conditions.

The policy will expire along with the other temporary emergency measures given force by the 2020 Coronavirus Act once the pandemic has passed.


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