Thank you to everyone who has contacted me about the provision of early medical abortion at home.
Abortion is a sensitive and emotive issue, and I respect there are strongly held views on all sides of the debate.
My view is that every woman has a right to choose, and all women in the UK should have access to a safe, legal abortion.
Since 2017 in Scotland, and 2018 in England and Wales, women have been allowed to take the second of two abortion pills (misoprostol) at home, to complete the procedure of early medical abortion.
As you know, in March 2020, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the UK Government approved temporary measures to allow women in England, who are up to ten weeks pregnant, to take both pills (mifepristone and misoprostol) for early medical abortion in their own homes, without the need to first attend a hospital or clinic. The Welsh Government confirmed similar measures in Wales for women up to ten weeks pregnant, and the Scottish Government confirmed similar measures in Scotland for women up to twelve weeks pregnant.
It is my personal belief that it was right to introduce these temporary measures, as I believe it is vital that women who want to access abortion care can still do so throughout the pandemic.
As you know, the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments ran consultations to seek views on whether to make these temporary changes, allowing the home use of both pills for early medical abortion, permanent. Ministers confirmed that decisions will be made in due course, following analysis of the evidence collated. I hope the governments will carefully consider all views, and I will follow developments on this closely.
I note the concerns you raise about abortion pills and possible side-effects. I am aware the UK Government is undertaking a project to review the system of recording abortion complications data, including home use of early medical abortion pills. It says it anticipates this work will be completed shortly.