England to return to pre-pandemic system for early abortions

  • Government to end temporary approval to allow women to take both pills for early medical abortion up to 9 weeks and 6 days gestation at home, which ensured continued access to abortion services during pandemic
  • The approval will end at midnight on 29 August 2022
  • Decision follows public consultation which sought views on whether to make measures permanent

Abortion services will return to pre-pandemic arrangements from August, following the end of temporary measures put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic which allowed the access of pills for early medical abortion via a teleconsultation and to take both pills at home.
This temporary measure to take both pills for early medical abortion at home was put in place at the start of the biggest public health emergency in a generation, to address a specific and acute medical need, reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and ensure continued access to abortion services.
After a public consultation, the majority of the over 18,000 consultation responses were in favour of ending the approval.
The provision, which is due to expire at the end of March, will be extended until 29 August to enable providers to prepare for a safe, reliable return to pre-pandemic arrangements.
Minister for Public Health Maggie Throup said:

Thanks to the success of the vaccine and booster programmes, we are able to end public restrictions and we are now in a position to remove the temporary measures put in place at the beginning of the pandemic related to the provisions of early medical abortions.

As we learn to live with COVID-19, women being able to access health services in a safe, secure way remains my priority.

A public consultation ran from November 2020 to February 2021 which sought views on whether to make measures permanent. The government summary of responses to the consultation has been published today (Thursday 24 February).
Domestic abuse was raised as an issue in the public consultation and we intend to work closely with the Violence Against Women and Girls sector and the Domestic Abuse Commissioner to ensure safeguarding and domestic abuse are central to ongoing work.
The wellbeing and safety of women requiring access to abortion services has been, and will continue to be, our first and foremost priority.

World News

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