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Defending life
from conception to natural death



25 August 2018


The Westminster Government could fall foul of court action by pro-life campaigners after confirming plans to approve DIY abortions at home.

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, the world’s oldest pro-life group, confirmed plans for continued legal action after approval was given by the Department of Health.

SPUC deputy chief executive John Deighan said:

“The abortion pill puts women through a terrible emotional and physical ordeal. The determination of the abortion industry to push women to undergo this in their own home with no real medical supervision illustrates their cavalier attitude when it comes to the well-being of women. It further trivialises abortion making women increasingly open to coercion, to make a choice that suits others. In terms of the legality of enabling DIY home abortions we remain convinced that it is outside the parameters of the Abortion Act and have every intention of pursuing action through the courts.”

SPUC has expressed deep concerns for the possible adverse impacts of the at home policy on the health of women and will challenge the plan on two major grounds.

Firstly, the 1967 Abortion Act lays down specific rules for approved places where procedures can take place and SPUC's legal advice states that the law “was not intended to allow abortions to take place at home”.

In addition, the legal advice says a woman who takes such an abortifacient (abortion causing) drug at home “is not consistent” with the Abortion Act which demands the presence of medical, nursing or clinical staff.

SPUC is therefore poised to appeal a decision authorising the use of the abortion pill at home.

Mr Deighan said:

“We are still convinced of our view that the Government policy is an unlawful position.  

“The abortion pill has been promoted by the government as if it were some sanitised and easy way of ending a pregnancy. It is far from that. The move to trivialise abortion is one that harms women and creates an environment where some women are even urged to have an abortion because it does not suit others.

“Our legal advice is clear, and we are confident that the Government’s decision to give women the abortion pill to take home is not in keeping with the law.”

He stated: “We are of the view that the policy is unlawful and effectively acts to remove the current medical oversight from the process, thereby endangering the wellbeing of women.

“We consider that the approval of a pregnant woman's home as a class of place where treatment to terminate pregnancy may take place is too broad a class, thereby not properly constituting a permissible class.

“Secondly, we take the view that the taking of Misoprostol at home without the presence of a medical practitioner or other member of clinical staff is not consistent with Section 1 of the Abortion Act 1967.

“It would appear to us that the policy proceeds upon a misdirection as to the requirements of the 1967 Act and are accordingly unlawful.”

Mr Deighan said:

“We believe the government scheme amounts to authorising backstreet abortions. And that is not being alarmist it is a simple fact.

“There would be no medical oversight and this development raises great concerns for us regarding women’s health.”

Mr Deighan said:

“Many vulnerable women who may be desperate about the situation they are in, will be pushed towards what is seen as the easy option of being handed some drugs and sent home to stop being a problem for society.”

Abortion and Women's Health

recent SPUC review to mark the 50th anniversary of abortion legislation revealed the "horrific" impact of abortion on the health of women including a catalogue of physical and mental problems linked to terminations.

Research on the impact of abortion has uncovered alarming concerns about women’s health at a time when around 550 abortions take place each day in the UK and the number of abortions carried out since 1968 is fast approaching 9 million.

The findings include:

  • women are more likely to die from any cause after abortion versus giving birth.
  • suicide is around six times greater after abortion than after childbirth.
  • abortion is associated with significantly higher death rates for women up to ten years after an abortion, compared with women who gave birth
  • women described significant grief three years after abortion.
  • a 30% increased risk of depression and a 25% increased risk of anxiety following abortion
  • women who had abortions experienced mental health disorders 30% more often compared to women who had not had an abortion.
  • depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder are also associated with the subsequent pregnancies of women who have had an abortion.
  • women who have had an abortion are at a higher risk of psychiatric admission compared to women who keep their babies.
  • women having medical abortions may experience hospital admission, blood transfusion, emergency room treatment, administration of IV antibiotics and infection 

The “Abortion and Women’s Health” review was carried out by Dr Gregory Pike, a medical researcher and the Founding Director of the Adelaide Centre for Bioethics and Culture, on behalf of SPUC, the world’s oldest and largest pro-life group which was founded in 1967.

Mr Deighan said:

“This report adds a significant dimension to the abortion debate. There are 27 pages, and each offers a deeply disturbing insight into the impact abortion has on women.

“The litany is almost endless, ranging from increased risk of death, including by suicide, among women who undergo abortions to increased psychological harm for women who terminate because of foetal anomaly and the links between abortion and depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Mr Deighan added: “Our abortion laws have corrupted and hardened the hearts of many health professionals working in this area and the political voices that give them encouragement.

“There is always a better choice than abortion for women facing unwanted pregnancy, with the proper care and support they will be able to support their child.”

Home abortion

Under the proposals women would be given the drug misoprostol, which causes the uterus to expel its contents, 24–48 hours after taking the drug mifepristone, which ends the pregnancy, at a clinic.

At present, women are required to make two separate visits to a clinic. While both drugs can be taken simultaneously, the procedure is considered to be less effective.

The abortion lobby claim it would be more convenient for women to make just one clinic trip.

Mr Deighan said: “It is tragic that many with a vested interest in pushing abortion as a service to women have made the issue a political and cultural football rather than an issue that is dealt with in the serious and detached manner that it deserves. We cannot force politicians or the government to do the right thing and it is with great regret that I note that in this latest initiative they have shown a disregard for human life, a disregard for the health of women and a disregard for the proper use of taxpayers’ money.

“I can only urge the people of our society not to be taken in by this false compassion, this quick fix which pays no attention to the long-term consequences for women and their families.

“Do not be taken in and do not take these dangerous drugs if offered them by anyone. They are not fit to be deemed part of healthcare.”

Contact us

John Deighan, CEO SPUC Scotland, can be contacted on:

  • Tel: 0141 221 2094
  • Mob: 07802 739265   

Issued by:

Tom Hamilton Communications

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