A mother in the United Kingdom illegally used abortion pills to kill her unborn child at 28 weeks of pregnancy. That’s four weeks past the legal cutoff and 18 weeks beyond the recommended gestational limit for drug-induced abortions.
The woman, whom news reports did not identify, used the country’s new “pills by post” program of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. It launched in April after the U.K. removed safety restrictions on abortion pills so women could access them more easily during the coronavirus pandemic. The pregnancy service is now investigating that and eight other cases in which women used the pill past the recommended 10-week limit, The Sun reported.
Before the changes, the law required women to go to an abortion facility to take the first of the two pills in the regimen under the supervision of a medical professional. Now, providers ship both pills to women’s homes after a 40-minute phone or video consultation. U.K. pro-life advocates warned the loosened restrictions put women’s physical and mental health in danger. Stories like the one from The Sun confirmed those fears.
“That proved very quickly that we were right, that you can’t control whose taking them and at what gestation without the proper consultation,” said Alithea Williams, the campaigns and parliamentary assistant for the U.K. Society for the Protection of the Unborn. “Clearly they weren’t managing to get the right information over the phone.”
In a webinar for pro-life advocates earlier this month, Williams discussed some of the other potential dangers of women accessing abortion pills by mail. With domestic abuse on the rise, limited involvement from doctors makes it easier for partners to push abortion on women.
“Do we really want to support an amendment that would remove the only opportunity many women have … to speak confidentially and one-to-one with a doctor?” she asked.
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