At-home abortion pills to be made permanent in England and Wales after being introduced in Covid lockdown

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The pills were first made available to use at home in March 2020 after the Coronavirus pandemic caused the UK to go into lockdown

The government has announced that at-home abortion pills are to be made permanently available to women in England and Wales.

The pills, which have been dubbed ‘pills by post’ were temporarily available when the Covid pandemic gripped the UK in March 2020, and forced the government to enforce a lockdown.

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When most of the country was shutdown, the pills allowed women to have early abortions at home, by having two pills within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.

AFP via Getty Images

Pregnant women will now be able to have access to the pills once more from 30 August, 2022, after a teleconsultation with a doctor.

The decision to make the pills permanent is a u-turn from earlier in the year when the temporary provision was set to be scrapped as the country returns to relative normalcy after Covid.

When news of the decision was announced, the decision to stop the abortion pills was criticised and was branded as a “regression in women’s rights”.

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But, in March 2022, MPs voted to keep the at home service, which has become a very popular option since its inception.

It was also revealed in The Commons that since they were introduced, 150,000 women have had abortions at home before they were 10 weeks pregnant.

Conservative MP Laura Trott said that keeping the service was a “matter for human dignity, for women’s dignity”.

Clare Murphy, Chief Executive at BPAS said it was helpful for “vulnerable women experiencing domestic violence who cannot risk journeying to a clinic for fear their abuser will discover their pregnancy”.

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Minister for public health, Maggie Throup, said to Sky News: "The wellbeing and safety of women requiring access to abortion services is paramount.

"With these measures women will have more choice in how and where they access abortion services, while ensuring robust data is collected to ensure their continued safety.

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