Thank you to all those who have contacted me about the provision of early medical abortion at home.

Abortion is a sensitive and emotive issue, and I respect that people have strongly held views on it. I support the right to choose, and believe that access to a safe, legal abortion should be available throughout the UK.

Since 2017 in Scotland, and 2018 in England and Wales, it has been possible to take the second of two abortion pills (misoprostol) at home, to complete the procedure of early medical abortion.

As you know, around the beginning of the pandemic, temporary measures were approved that allowed both pills (mifepristone and misoprostol) for early medical abortion to be taken at home within the first ten weeks, without the need to first attend a hospital or clinic.

Following a consultation on whether these temporary measures should be made permanent, the UK Government announced that from 29 August 2022 it will revert to pre-COVID-19 requirements, meaning that the first pill must be taken in a clinic or hospital. I disagree with this outcome and believe the temporary measures should be made permanent in England. Women want this and it is safe.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says there is overwhelming evidence that allowing women to use the two pills at home has created a safer and more effective service. It warned that the failure to make it permanent could lead to more women accessing illegal abortions.

The Government’s decision will reduce access to a vital service. I therefore welcome the amendment tabled to the Health and Care Bill at Report Stage in the House of Lords on 16 March, which seeks to overturn the decision and make the service permanent. Although the amendment was passed by the House of Lords, the Bill still needs to complete its final stages, and I will follow developments on this closely.

In contrast, the Welsh Government has made the temporary provisions permanent. It advises it is satisfied that the arrangements are safe and bring significant benefits to those who wish to access abortion services, enabling them to access the help they need more quickly.

Thank you once again for contacting me about this issue.

Image of a pregnancy test
Image of a pregnancy test
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