Why changes to abortion laws during the pandemic should remain

August 10, 2021
The Conversation
Elizabeth Chloe Romanis, Jordan A. Parsons, Thomas Hampton

As a result of the pandemic, the governments in England, Scotland and Wales temporarily relaxed abortion rules in March 2020. This means that, in every part of the UK except for Northern Ireland, people early in pregnancy can to take abortion pills at home following a telephone consultation. But with COVID restrictions largely eased across the UK, there’s uncertainty over whether this will still be allowed.

Before the pandemic, for an early medical abortion to be legal in Great Britain people had to go to a clinic where they were given two drugs – mifepristone and misoprostol. The first pill had to be taken under supervision, while misoprostol was taken later at home.

Continued: https://theconversation.com/why-changes-to-abortion-laws-during-the-pandemic-should-remain-162378

Scotland – Campaign for abortion clinic ‘buffer zones’ hits out at Facebook for blocking petition

A campaign for buffer zones outside abortion clinics has hit out at Facebook, after the social media giant blocked their petition stating it was ‘reported as abusive content.’

By Jolene Campbell
Monday, 19th July 2021

Back Off Scotland, which was started by Edinburgh university students, said it was disappointed the social media platform had suspended supporters accounts when they shared their national petition – branding the move ‘heavy-handed.’

The group has expanded the campaign for buffer zones outside clinics across Scotland, after setting up in Edinburgh in response to harassment of women seeking abortion healthcare at the Chalmers Street clinic.

Continued: https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/people/campaign-for-abortion-clinic-buffer-zones-hits-out-at-facebook-for-blocking-petition-3314028

Scotland – Telemedicine in abortion care: safe, effective, preferred

Greta Hughson
12 July 2021

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Health Service (NHS) in Scotland began providing telemedicine services for medical abortion. In this interview, we spoke to Dr John Reynolds-Wright of the Medical Research Council Centre for Reproductive Health at the University of Edinburgh, who worked with a team to assess outcomes and acceptability for people using these services in Edinburgh. The study worked with 663 women choosing medical abortion at home between April and July 2020.

The study started in April 2020 – how did it come about so soon after COVID restrictions began?
I usually work as a doctor in sexual and reproductive health but I’m currently doing a PhD and working as a research fellow at the Chalmers Sexual Health Centre in Edinburgh. Before COVID, we were working on a large randomised controlled trial (RCT) called the UTAH study, which stood for ‘Using Telemedicine to improve early medical Abortion at Home’. We were randomising women to have a telephone assessment prior to their abortion versus a standard face-to-face assessment.

Continued: https://www.aidsmap.com/news/jul-2021/telemedicine-abortion-care-safe-effective-preferred

Edinburgh mother backs woman with Down’s syndrome challenging abortion law at the High Court

Lynn Murray from Edinburgh is a spokesperson for Down Syndrome charity Don’t Screen Us Out and mum of Rachel who has the condition.

By Shona Elliott
Wednesday, 7th July 2021

The campaigning parent has given her support to Heidi Crowter from Coventry who is challenging abortion law at the UK High Court.

Ms Crowter, 26, is taking legal action against the UK Government with the support of Maire Lea-Wilson, 33 whose son Aidan also has the condition.

Continued: https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/people/edinburgh-mother-backs-woman-with-downs-syndrome-challenging-abortion-law-at-the-high-court-3299392

Telemedicine for abortions should be here to stay

Jillian Merchant
Monday July 05 2021

In recent weeks the Scottish government published its analysis of responses to its public consultation on the continued use of telemedicine for abortion services. It concluded that it would consider the responses, along with further evidence, before making any decision.

Last week this decision came under fire from the Catholic Media Office. As a starting point, it is important to note that public consultations on healthcare procedures are exceptionally rare. It says a lot about the lack of value and trust, placed by society on women and their health, that the public at large should have any say in medical procedures. There are few, if any, other subjects where scientific advances are seen with such fear and inaction than women’s health.

Continued: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/telemedicine-for-abortions-should-be-here-to-stay-ww3znv0kh

Make home abortion permanently legal, doctors leader urges

Katie Gibbons, The Times Friday February 19 2021

Doctors are calling for home medical abortions to be made permanently legal as figures show that allowing women to take pills in private without visiting a clinic cuts waiting times.

Temporary legislation was introduced at the beginning of the pandemic to allow women easier access to medical termination in their homes via phone and video consultations.

Continued: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/make-home-abortion-permanently-legal-doctors-leader-urges-886m2rtnk

UK – The majority of people want to make at-home abortions legal

It's an issue currently being debated by the government

FEB 19, 2021

A ground-breaking new study of over 50,000 medical abortions has found that the at-home option (introduced temporarily during the pandemic, for those up to 10 weeks pregnant) was not only safe and effective, but allowed more people to easily access the healthcare they required. The results of the study have been released during an especially poignant time, as the government is currently examining whether or not to make at-home abortions a permanent option in England.

The study looked at abortions carried out in England, Scotland and Wales, both before and after the pandemic, and researchers, from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), MSI Reproductive Choices UK and the University of Texas at Austin, say their aim was to compare the data and see how the telemedicine service compares to the services previously available.

Continued: https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/reports/a35558873/at-home-abortions-legal-study/

Edinburgh City Council U-turn on blocked abortion advice website searches

Edinburgh City Council has announced it will no longer block access to vital abortion information websites, after facing heavy criticism from a leading charity.

By Joseph Anderson
Wednesday, 17th February 2021

The council was previously accused of ‘taking
an anti-abortion stance’ by pro-choice campaigners after a freedom of
information act, submitted by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, revealed
the council does not allow employees or school pupils to access lifesaving
healthcare information on abortion.

Previously, the only accessible website containing abortion information was the
NHS website, however, charities such as the British Pregnancy Advisory
Service(BPAS) – which campaigns for women’s reproductive choices, provides a
helpline and appointments, and signposts women to treatment – were blocked .

Continued: https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/health/edinburgh-city-council-u-turn-blocked-abortion-advice-website-searches-3137588

Edinburgh woman says protests at abortion clinic made her feel ‘targeted’

Alice Murray chose to have an abortion after finding out she was pregnant at university, but said protestors at the clinic made her anxious

By Alasdair Clark, Journalist
15 Feb 2021

A new campaign has launched calling on the government to introduce "buffer zones" near abortion clinics to protect women from "intimidation and harassment".

Back Off Scotland, a campaign group aiming to pressure the Scottish Government into legislating for 150 metre protest-free zones around clinics providing abortions, have launched a petition calling for legislation.

Continued: https://www.edinburghlive.co.uk/news/edinburgh-news/edinburgh-woman-says-protests-abortion-19843150

Scotland – Abortion rules revolutionised by Covid-19 must stay

Jillian Merchant
Monday December 21 2020

At the start of the pandemic the Scottish government, at the urging of medical practitioners and activists, issued guidance allowing early medical abortion at home to prevent unnecessary risk to women and clinicians.

This enabled women in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy to attend medical appointments by telephone or video call before, where clinically appropriate, being sent the two abortion pills to take at home. This is now subject to a public consultation on making the change permanent.

Continued: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/abortion-rules-revolutionised-by-covid-19-must-stay-t0x6fgnkc