Commenting on the announcements, Clare Murphy, Chief Executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, BPAS, said:
"We are delighted that today the Scottish government have confirmed that at-home early medical abortion care will become a permanent option for women in Scotland. This means that women across Great Britain will continue to be able to access safe, effective early medical abortion medication from the privacy and comfort of their own homes. Research from the SACHA study, published recently in the journal BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health, found overwhelming support for telemedical abortion care - otherwise known as “Pills by Post” – and we are pleased that the Scottish government has listened to the voices of women who have used this service, as well as the vast body of clinical evidence that confirms the safety and efficacy of this service.
"Permission for at-home early abortion has yet to be afforded to the women of Northern Ireland. In March, the Secretary of State committed to intervene on abortion services for Northern Ireland following the recent assembly election in May. We urge Brandon Lewis to bring forward measures to ensure that not only are in-clinic services funded and accessible, but also that the women of Northern Ireland also are given the ability to access at-home care, in line with the permissions in all other nations in the UK.
"We also welcome the commitment from the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, to pursue buffer zones legislation to protect women and clinicians from anti-abortion protest activity outside clinics. For years, groups have been allowed to harassment and intimidate women seeking legal healthcare, and the healthcare professionals providing this care. The government in Westminster have previously rejected calls from medical bodies, providers, and women’s rights charities to establish buffer zones, and we hope that the example being set by the Scottish government will shame Ministers in England to act. At a time when reproductive rights are under attack in many other countries, it is vital that the UK is a beacon for women’s reproductive choice. Scotland appears to be on course to do just that."
For further information, please contact Katherine O’Brien, BPAS Associate Director of Campaigns and Communications, on katherine.o’firstname.lastname@example.org or 07881 265276.
BPAS is a charity that sees over 100,000 women a year for reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception at clinics across Great Britain. It supports and advocates for reproductive choice. BPAS also runs the Centre for Reproductive Research and Communication, which seeks to develop and deliver a research agenda that furthers women’s access to evidence-based reproductive healthcare, driven by an understanding of women’s perspectives and needs. You can find out more here: https://www.bpas.org/get-involved/centre-for-reproductive-research-communication/
In 2021, BPAS launched BPAS Fertility, England’s first not-for-profit fertility service, to provide ethical, evidence-based, person-centred care that supports patients. We provide a safe, high-quality, and accessible service, without profiteering from patients. Our service gives those ineligible for NHS funding an affordable option to access the care they need.