Coronavirus: Women in England can now get abortion pills by post following Department of Health U-turn

The Department of Health has already backtracked on the policy once before

Women requiring a medical abortion in England, Scotland and Wales can now access a “pills by post” system during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) confirmed to The Independent that the telemedicine was now available for women to take up to week 10 of pregnancy – later terminations may still require a surgical abortion in a clinic.

The postal service is still not available for women in Northern Ireland.

This announcement, which reportedly saw the first pills sent out on Wednesday morning, follows a U-turn from the Department of Health on the use of abortion pills in the home.

On Monday 23 March a document published on the DHSC website stated that women would no longer need to go to a hospital or clinic in order to have a medical abortion.

This was prompted by the ongoing pandemic and the need for people to remain at home in order to reduce the virus spread.

But later that day a spokesperson told The Independent the changes were not going ahead as publicised: “This was published in error. There will be no changes to abortion regulations.”

Appearing in Parliament on Tuesday 24 March, Health Secretary Matt Hancock came under increasing pressure from other politicians to continue with the published plans.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) also released a joint statement criticising the government as “reckless” in its decision to backtrack.

“We are in unprecedented circumstances and health services are making difficult decisions every day,” the joint statement read. “Inaction is reckless and risks the health and wellbeing of women and frontline NHS workers.”

On 30 March the DHSC published a document that said women and girls will now be allowed to take both pills for an early medical abortion in their own home.

The new “pills by post” system will see women able to self-nominate for an abortion, rather than be referred by a clinician or doctor, and get in contact with BPAS for a phone consultation with a trained nurse or midwife, which will last around 40 minutes.

The two tablets – mifepristone and misoprostol – are to be taken 24 to 48 hours apart. The first ends the pregnancy and the second causes the body to pass the pregnancy.

To get in contact with Bpas you can call 03457 30 40 30 for advice, enquiries and consultations.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in