Abortion and COVID-19: why we need to support women’s right to abortion in health emergencies
Mar 27, 2020
Clare Wenham, Ernestina Coast, Katy Footman, Tiziana Leone, Rishita Nandagiri, and Joe Strong discuss the UK government’s apparent U-turn over medical abortion during the novel coronavirus outbreak. They draw on their own research and other evidence to make the case for women being able to take abortion medication at home, following a phone or video consultation.
On 23 March, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care approved emergency measures relating to abortion regulation which would have revolutionised abortion practice in England. Women would be able to take abortion medication in their homes, without having to travel to a clinic first, with a consultation over the phone or video link. This was explained as accounting for self-isolation guidelines and the limited opportunity women would have during the COVID-19 outbreak to seek abortion, potentially leading to a number of unwanted pregnancies being forced to continue or women being forced to resort to illegal or unsafe methods to terminate them. Moreover, self-isolation may lead to an increase in sexual activity amongst some, not to mention the increased risk of sexual violence within quarantine settings. Thus, this change in regulation was heralded as a major breakthrough for emergency management of COVID-19 and meeting women’s reproductive needs. That being so, it was remarkable that within five hours of this announcement, came the following ‘This was published in error. There will be no changes to abortion regulation‘.
Continued: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/abortion-and-covid-19/ Abortion and COVID-19: why we need to support women’s right to abortion in health emergencies