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Welsh Health Minister promotes home abortions

18 April 2018

 
Vaughan Gething addresses Welsh Assembly Members

SPUC is currently challenging a similar move in Scotland 

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething has said that the abortion pill should be authorised for home use.

Speaking in the Welsh Assembly on Tuesday, Mr Gething told members: "I have instructed officials to start work immediately on how we can amend the legal framework to allow for the treatment of the termination of pregnancy to be carried out at home."

He added: "My officials will now work with stakeholders to develop a fully-costed and timetabled implementation plan."

Not in keeping with the law

It is unclear what Mr Gething meant by "amend the legal framework", as Wales is subject to the 1967 Abortion Act, and so any amendment would need to be done in the Westminster Parliament. In Scotland, the Government claimed that it did not need to change the law to designate the home as a place where abortion could take place, although this is currently being challenged by a judicial review brought by SPUC Scotland.

The key grounds for SPUC's legal challenge are firstly,that the home is not an approved place for abortions to take place under the Abortion Act, and secondly, that it demands the presence of medical, nursing or clinical staff during a procedure.

SPUC challenge could have huge implications

In Westminster, a Government minister recently replied to a question saying: "abortions must be performed under the legal framework set by the Abortion Act 1967. We are not currently in a position to approve homes as a class of place under the Act."

He also said that while "the Scottish Government have made that decision...it is subject to a dispute and that a judicial review has been brought against it by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), which is obviously testing the legality of the Scottish Government and their powers to act. We shall look closely at developments in these legal proceedings, as well as any other evidence that arises."

An Irish doctor who is campaigning to repeal the Eighth Amendment, recently warned of the serious dangers of taking the abortion pill away from medical supervision. 

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