England announced on Sunday that their government is allowing women to legally take an abortion pill at home for the first time. They are following in the footsteps of both Scotland and Wales.
Under the new regulation which will take effect by the end of this year, women will be able to take the second of two early abortion pills “in the safe and familiar surroundings of their own home,” the government said.
Presently, women who want to terminate their pregnancy in the first 10 weeks must take two pills, mifepristone and misoprostol, at a clinic, 24 to 48 hours apart. So women in England must visit a clinic two times to take the pills and then go home to complete the termination of their pregnancy. The government said in a statement that this process “can be difficult to organize and often uncomfortable or traumatic.”
In some cases, women can begin to miscarry before they have reached their home,” the statement added.
According to the Department of Health and Social Care, four out of five terminations in England are early medical abortions, carried out under 10 weeks’ gestation.
The president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Lesley Regan, said in a statement that the change was a “a major step forward for women’s health care.”
“This simple and practical measure will provide women with significantly more choice and is the most compassionate care we can give them,” Ms. Regan said. “It will allow women to avoid distress and embarrassment of bleeding and pain during their journey home from an unnecessary second visit to a clinic or hospital.”
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children criticized the change, saying in a statement that the move “further trivializes abortion.”
“The abortion pill puts women through a terrible emotional and physical ordeal,” the organization added, according to the BBC. “The determination of the abortion industry to push women to undergo this in their own home with no real medical supervision illustrates their cavalier attitude when it comes to the well-being of women.”