Rebel MPs vote down plan to scrap scheme allowing women to take full course of abortion pills at home
- Women will continue to have access to the telemedicine service for abortions
- It had been due to be axed this summer, prompting backlash from experts
- MPs voted to amend the Health and Care Bill to ensure the provision is extended
Women can continue to have abortions at home after Government plans to end the scheme were defeated.
The ‘pills by post’ service was set up at the start of the pandemic so that women who were unable to see doctors in person could still access early medical abortions.
The telemedicine service, relating to termination in the first ten weeks of pregnancy, allows women to take both doses of abortion pills at home.
Women will continue to be allowed to access abortion medication from home in the first ten weeks of pregnancy (stock image)
Ordinarily they would have to take the first course in a hospital or clinic.
The service has been used by more than 150,000 women since March 2020 but last month ministers announced that it would be axed this summer.
The move sparked a backlash from health experts who said it would force women to obtain the tablets illegally online.
Last night, after an emotional debate, 215 MPs voted to amend the Health and Care Bill to keep the service in place.
These included 72 Conservatives such as Cabinet ministers Grant Shapps and Brandon Lewis and former PM Theresa May.
Conservative MP Laura Trott said that keeping the service was ‘a matter for human dignity, for women’s dignity’.
Labour MP Jess Phillips told MPs about her own experience having an abortion and said that the telemedicine service had increased the percentage of women accessing abortions before six weeks.
Dozens of Tory MPs voted to amend the Health and Care Bill to keep the service in place (file photo)
Former Cabinet minister Maria Miller suggested that keeping the service was safer for women’s health, adding: ‘Online abortion pill sales from unregulated providers have decreased since telemedicine was made legally available.’
However, Tory backbencher Fiona Bruce warned that allowing women to take abortion pills without medical supervision had led to ‘unacceptable health and safety risks’ including a lack of basic checks by abortion providers.
Catherine Robinson, of campaign group Right To Life UK, added that the move would remove ‘vital safeguards’ and put ‘thousands more women at risk from ‘DIY’ home abortions’.