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BPAS comment on Welsh government announcement re: at-home early medical abortion

The Welsh government have announced that the temporary arrangements introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, which enabled women and girls to take both pills for Early Medical Abortion (EMA) up to 9 weeks and 6 days gestation in their own homes, following a telephone or e-consultation with a clinician, without the need to first attend a hospital or clinic, are being made permanent in Wales.

Clare Murphy, Chief Executive at BPAS:

“We are delighted that Eluned Morgan, Minister for Health in the Welsh government, has announced that at-home early medical abortion will be a permanent option for the women of Wales. A vast body of clinical evidence has demonstrated that at-home early abortion, which was brought in at the start of the pandemic, is safe and effective, and we are grateful to the Welsh government for listening to medical professionals, women’s rights organisations, and thousands of women who need this service every year. The ability to receive early abortion medication by post following a telemedical consultation with a doctor or nurse will be of particular benefit for women in rural north or south west Wales who can struggle with travelling to attend in-clinic appointments, women with caring responsibilities, and vulnerable women experiencing domestic violence who cannot risk journeying to a clinic for fear their abuser will discover their pregnancy. The ability to access this service from the safety and privacy of their own homes will protect women who might otherwise put themselves at risk of criminalisation by using abortion medication purchased online, illegally, because the obstacles to in-clinic treatment are insurmountable.

“This announcement should be a source of shame to the government in Westminster, who continue to play politics with women’s health by choosing to extend permission for the service for 6 months in England, rather than make it a permanent option. The UK government should take note – this is what a real women’s health strategy looks like.”

 

ENDS

For further information, please contact Rachael Clarke, BPAS Chief of Staff, on  07985 351751 or rachael.clarke@bpas.org

 

About BPAS

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.