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Welsh Government announces plans to introduce home use of abortion pills

Vaughan Gething, the Welsh Health Secretary, has announced that he has instructed officials to investigate the legislative changes needed to allow women to take abortion pills in the safety and comfort of their own homes, rather than being required to make multiple trips to a hospital or clinic. Humanists UK welcomes this announcement, which represents a change strongly supported by health professionals and women, and brings abortion policy into line with recommendations by the World Health Organisation.

The overwhelming majority of abortions in Wales are carried out medically, by the taking of two pills several days apart. Current law requires that women must take both pills in a clinic or hospital, often resulting in women experiencing bleeding, cramping, and miscarriage whilst travelling home.

Recent studies have shown that the home use of abortion pills is safe and improves the quality of the women’s experience. A study carried out by the University of Texas found that in 95 percent of cases, women in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland who used online purchased abortion pills safely ended their pregnancies and did not require medical attention, and none of those who did require medical attention had any serious lasting side-effects. This study clearly indicates that abortion pills are safe for women to use outside of a clinical setting and arguments against home use on the basis of safety concerns are unfounded.

Humanists UK Campaigns Officer Rachel Taggart-Ryan commented, ‘We are delighted that the Welsh Government has announced its intention to bring abortion care into the 21st century. Medical care has advanced in the fifty years since abortion was made legally accessible in Wales. There is no medical reason why, in the vast majority of cases, a woman should be forced to experience the effects of taking abortion pills whilst travelling from a clinic, instead of being able to manage those effects at a time and place suitable to her.’

Notes

For further comment or information contact Rachel Taggart-Ryan, Campaigns Officer at rachel@humanism.org.uk or 0207 324 3065.

Read more about Humanists UK’s campaigns work on abortion: https://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/public-ethical-issues/sexual-and-reproductive-rights/

At Humanists UK, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Our work brings non-religious people together to develop their own views, helping people be happier and more fulfilled in the one life we have. Through our ceremonies, education services, and community and campaigning work, we strive to create a fair and equal society for all.

Humanists UK recently changed its name from the British Humanist Association: https://humanism.org.uk/2017/05/22/bha-becomes-humanists-uk/

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