Risky business

In an effort to change a strict law, woman opens up about nearly having an abortion in public

Claudia Craig shared her story of her medical abortion beginning while she was still in a taxi. (YouTube / BBC)

Women in England should be allowed to take pills to induce an abortion at home, without medical supervision, according to the country’s reproductive experts.

Current legislation requires that the two pills which induce an early medical abortion must be administered in a clinic or hospital, 24 to 48 hours apart. Being allowed to take the second pill at home would overcome dangers associated with purchasing the pills online, complications from taking the two pills required simultaneously, or the risk of enduring an abortion while still traveling home from the doctor’s office or hospital.

Last month the Welsh government legalized take-home abortion pills, and the Scottish government announced its decision to legalize the practice last October.

Meanwhile, English women are sharing their personal stories, in an effort to demonstrate the serious shortcomings of the current restrictions. A new report by the BBC highlights the experiences of several women, and their accounts put into clear perspective why England needs to follow the lead of Wales and Scotland.

Claudia Craig, who took the second pill in a hospital last year, described how she was struck by a host of strong symptoms — including nausea, cramping, retching, and loss of bowel control — very shortly after getting home. Had she arrived just five minutes later, “all those symptoms would have been happening on the floor of the taxi.

“I would have been sick in the taxi, I would have started bleeding in the taxi and I would have lost control of my bowels in the taxi.”

Craig observes that she only lives 15 minutes from the hospital, and even so only just made it home. “Not every woman lives 15 minutes away from the hospital.”

Zoe Weldon told the BBC she had to get off a train and lay down, panicking, on a bench in the subway station, as her abortion began to take effect. “It was so painful and so frightening that to scream would have been to completely give into it.”

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), supported by 50 members of Parliament, has called on England’s Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, to change the law and allow the second pill to be taken at home. The World Health Organization also recommends home use of the pill. And Claudia Craig, the woman who barely made it home before her abortion process went into full effect, isn’t just sharing her experience with the BBC. She wrote a letter to Hancock describing what she endured and urging him to act.

For more on her story and to hear from other women who have also endured agonizing experience, watch the full BBC report below.

Read the full story at the BBC.

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