Permanent access to at-home abortions to be granted in England and Wales

Abortion Act to be amended from 30 August after ministers forced to ditch plans to scrap ‘pills by post’ service

Andrew Gregory, Health editor
Tue 23 Aug 2022

Women in England and Wales will be able to permanently access early medical abortions at home from next week after ministers were forced to abandon plans to scrap the “pills by post” service.

The move will benefit thousands of women who wish to take the tablets needed to end a pregnancy in the privacy of their own home, rather than having to take the first pills at a clinic or hospital.


UK – House of Lords votes for at-home abortion provision

Humanists UK
Thursday 17 Mar 2022

During last night’s late night sitting in the House of Lords, running beyond 2am, peers voted to allow women to continue to access abortion services at home. Prior to Covid, women were required to attend a clinic in person to access abortion pills. But since then, they have been able to receive the pills by post. The UK Government recently announced it intended to withdraw this service in England from August, but the Lords have now voted in favour of keeping it. Humanists UK, which has repeatedly called on the Government to make these measures permanent, said it was delighted by the news. It has urged the Commons to not overturn the Lords’ vote.

The vote happened during the Report Stage of the Government’s Health and Care Bill. The abortion amendment, tabled by Conservative Peer Baroness Sugg, was passed by 75 votes to 35. Humanists UK briefed peers in support of the amendment. Three members of the All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group (APPHG) spoke for it, with many more voting in favour.


19 States Ignore Global Evidence and Move to Block Access to Abortion Pills

Despite a wealth of research that shows medical abortion at home is effective, safe, acceptable and improves access to care, 19 U.S. states are introducing laws to block access to the medication.

by SARAH SHAW, Ms. Magazine

At the end of 2021, the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) announced it would permanently ease federal restrictions on abortion pills. They’re allowing these drugs to be sent by mail, after a medical consultation by phone rather than requiring an in-person visit. The change has been welcomed by healthcare providers who point to the importance of providing women with safe methods in the fight to eliminate unsafe abortion and related deaths and injury.

Along with the need to overcome obstacles created by COVID-19, so that women can safely exercise their right to choose even during the pandemic, supporters also point to the sharp increase in gender-based violence during the pandemic—with many women unable to leave their homes—as another reason why medical abortion at home is so important.


UK – Abortion numbers are at an all-time high – it means reforms are working

Phoebe Arslanagić-Wakefield
Tuesday 17 August 2021

In 2020, the total number of abortions performed in the UK reached a record high of 210,860. Most of these – 47 per cent– were early abortions, carried out during the pandemic by women in their own homes, using pills posted to them after a teleconsultation with a doctor.

Prior to the pandemic, those seeking an early abortion could be forgiven for feeling that they were being made to jump through hoops.


USA – Telemedicine options for abortion are here to stay

Through pandemic necessity, an ad-hoc, telehealth model for reproductive healthcare is sticking around.


As much of the country prepares to return to some form of post-pandemic normalcy, reproductive health care providers and advocates hope we continue one vital pandemic tradition: telemedicine options for receiving and providing reproductive care from home.

Some researchers and providers have found offering medication abortion care via telehealth is crucial to bridging gaps in abortion access. Abortion medication care is safe and effective up to 10 weeks into one's pregnancy, and providers say that having a telehealth component to abortion care may even help establish greater medical trust and comfort for patients from marginalized communities seeking care.


Women in Mexico use mobile apps during at-home abortions

With abortion illegal in 30 Mexican states, women are using an over-the-counter drug for the procedure.

By Andalusia K Soloff
14 May 2021

Mexico City, Mexico – In the middle of the global pandemic crisis, Maria Muñoz, a 26 year-old journalist, found herself facing an unwanted pregnancy in Mexico City.  Fearful of contracting COVID-19 at a hospital or clinic she decided to abort at home, with assistance coming via the popular messaging service, WhatsApp.

An increasing number of women in Mexico are turning to online support networks who advise them on how to use misoprostol, an over-the-counter ulcer medicine, to abort.


The mobile apps helping Mexican women seek abortion

Feminist groups and activists in Mexico are helping women perform ‘at-home’ abortions.

10 May 2021

Al Jazeera
(20 minute podcast)

Feminist groups and activists in Mexico have taken it upon themselves to help
women gain access to abortion, in a country where it is largely illegal. At
great risk to their safety, they use social networks to inform women on how to
perform “at-home” abortions. They have taken to the streets and to their
cellphones to push back against the law, while helping women find the support
they seek. The local efforts come as Mexico’s Supreme Court prepares to discuss
the legal merits of cases surrounding abortion in June.


UK – It’s about time at-home abortions were legalised

Holly Hostettler-Davies
5 March 2021

In an attempt to stop the spread of Covid-19, temporary legislation was introduced at the beginning of the pandemic to allow women easier access to medical terminations in their homes with the use of two pills.

A safe method to help meet demand?
Doctors are calling for at-home medical abortions to be made permanently legal here in the UK, after research found that between April and June 2020, 23,061 abortions took place at home, making up 43 per cent of all legal abortions.


UK – Will At-Home Abortions Be Available As Coronavirus Restrictions Ease?

Alice Broster
Feb 27, 2021

At the beginning of the pandemic, in March 2020, the UK government announced that early abortion care would be available at home, via telemedicine. The government is now debating whether to continue this as lockdown eases or go back to only administering abortions within a medical setting. Medical professionals from MSI Reproductive Choices UK and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service have argued for increased access to abortions as a matter of essential healthcare throughout the pandemic and research has found that at-home early medical abortions are no riskier and have cut down waiting periods which is essential when people are wanting to have a termination.


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.