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U.K. government announces major shift on at-home abortion pill in England

Pro-choice campaigners hold placards outside the Houses of Parliament during a demonstration to urge the Government to extend the same laws on abortion across the U.K. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Advocates who have been lobbying the government in the United Kingdom to follow Scotland‘s and Wales’ lead and allow women seeking medication-induced abortions to take the second of the abortion pills at home will soon be able to claim victory. According to The Guardian, the government has announced plans to legalize the at-home use of early medical abortion drugs by the end of this year.

Under current law, women are required to received the the two pills that induce an early medical abortion in a clinic or hospital, under medical supervision and 24 to 48 hours apart. Health experts have urged lawmakers to allow the pills that induce an abortion to be taken at home, without medical supervision.

recent report highlighted the dangers women face when they take the second pill, misoprostol, in a hospital or clinic — and then are abruptly sent home. In many cases, women begin undergoing the effects of the drug while on their way home and nearly have an abortion in public. In the video report by the BBC, some women spoke candidly on camera about their harrowing experiences.

“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,” Claudia Craig said, recalling her experience. She began going through the abortion process while still in a cab on her way home from the hospital and narrowly made it back to her apartment, she said. “Not every woman lives 15 minutes away from the hospital.”

Four out of five terminated pregnancies in England are early medical abortions, usually occurring in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, according to The Guardian. Not surprisingly, advocates praised the government’s decision. Lesley Regan, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said the news was “hugely welcomed and a major step forward for women’s health care.” She added, “This simple and practical measure will provide women with significantly more choice and is the most compassionate care we can give them.”

But some critics worried that the measure will end up trivializing abortion. Earlier this year, the Welsh government legalized at-home use of abortion drugs. Below, watch the BBC’s video about women who have nearly suffered abortions in public places after being sent home from the hospital just after receiving the misoprostol.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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