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Home use of abortion medication comes into force in Wales

The Welsh Government has issued new guidance to health boards across Wales to allow women to take the second dose of misoprostol, the pill used during a medical termination, in the safety and comfort of their homes rather than being required to make multiple trips to a hospital or clinic. Humanists UK has welcomed this change which brings abortion law in Wales in line with best medical practice in this area.

Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething, who announced plans to allow home use in April, stated that ‘this change in practice offers additional choice to women requesting an abortion and enables them to complete treatment in an environment where they feel most comfortable.’

The overwhelming majority of abortions in Wales are carried out medically, by the taking of two pills several days apart. Until now women were required to take both pills in a clinic or hospital, often resulting in women experiencing bleeding, cramping, and miscarriage whilst travelling home.

This change follows the announcement by the Scottish Government in October last year that it planned to allow the home use of misoprostol. Similar policies already operate in the United States, France, and Sweden.

Humanists UK’s Campaigns Officer Rachel Taggart-Ryan commented, ‘We are delighted that the Welsh Government is bringing abortion care into the 21st century. Recent studies have shown that the home use of abortion pills is safe and improves the quality of the women’s experience. There is no longer any medical reason for women to take the second pill in a clinical setting, nor experience the adverse effects of doing so whilst travelling.’

In April, Humanists UK and other campaigning groups  and royal colleges wrote a letter to The Times calling upon the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt to allow women in England to take abortion pills at home. The changes in Wales and Scotland will greatly strengthen the case for reform in England.

Notes

For further comment or information contact Rachel Taggart-Ryan, Campaigns Officer at rachel@humanism.org.ukor 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.

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