Here in the UK, the government won’t allow women to take what is commonly (though ambiguously I think) known in the US as the ‘abortion pill’ at home. This is despite overwhelming evidence that it is safe to do so. And, after ten years of trying to get the government to change their stance on this, one abortion provider is now taking the UK government to court in a last-ditch attempt to change things.
The ‘abortion pill,’ as it is commonly known in the US, or ‘medical abortion’ as it is more commonly known on this side of the pond, requires two doses, taken 24-48 hours apart. In most countries …
… where this is offered, the US included, women can take the second dose, which causes uterine contractions, at home, giving them more control over the timing and circumstances of their abortion. But in the UK women have to return to the doctor, nurse or clinic to take the second pill. This (obviously) means that women are at risk of beginning their contractions whilst returning home.
But experts are saying that there is no medical reason why women should have to leave the comfort and security of their home to take the second pill, with some even dubbing this practice ‘stupid’ and claiming that is puts women at risk. Looking at why the government hasn’t axed the practice of making women return to a medical professional to take the second does of the pill, it isn’t clear. Ann Furedi of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service states that:
‘It is astonishing how terrified they [the UK government] are of the Daily Mail.’
Now, I’ve written about the Daily Mail (Daily Fail) here at Zelda Lily before, stating that, here in the UK, it is by no means the most credible of publications. The Daily Mail has a tendency to jump on the bandwagon of whatever cause it fancies, frequently condemns immigrants, claims everything gives you cancer and publishes photos of Z-list British celebs falling out of cars a lot. As a publication, they’re also massively anti-abortion. And, according to Furedi, they’re the reason why the British government still make women return to the clinic to take dose 2. Furedi and the BPAS believe that the government are scared that letting women take the second dose at home will be seen by the media as encouraging abortion.
I think it’s totally ridiculous, and actually quite sad, that the government is apparently caving to the Daily Fail, but the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) is going more that stating that they’re unhappy with this fact – they’re suing the government to allow women in the UK to take the second pill at home. The BPAS, quite rightly I think, believe that clinical practice must be shaped by clinical evidence and not political pressures on convenience. They state that:
‘The fact that it [suing the government] may be controversial and may provoke those who oppose abortion to rally against these particular changes should not be a factor that we take into consideration.’
Quite right, I think. People seem to get so emotional about the issue of abortion that they forget that, at the end of the day, it is a medical procedure. Like any other medical procedure, the rules and regulations surrounding it should be decided by medical concerns, not by ideological views. Those with conservative anti-abortion views are disregarding what’s best for women in favour of their own moral stance on things. I personally think that the BPAS should be commended for putting the safety of women first and for taking the government to task over their apparent failure to pay proper attention to the findings of medical science. Allowing women to take the second pill at home would not make abortions easier to obtain – but it would make things less traumatic for women who need – and are entitled – to have one.