Opinion Former Article

Success! Government announces women in England can take abortion pill at home

The Department of Health and Social Care has announced that by the end of 2018 women in England will be able to take the second pill used in a medical abortion, misoprostol, in the comfort and safety of their own homes. Humanists UK welcomes this announcement which will bring abortion policy in England in line with best medical practice and greatly improve the experience of women undergoing this procedure. 

The overwhelming majority of abortions in England are carried out medically, by the taking of two pills several days apart. Previously, women were required to take this pill in a hospital or clinic and would often experience heavy bleeding, cramping, and pain whilst travelling home. Women in England will now have the same rights as their counterparts in Scotland and Wales where home use of misoprostol has already come into force.

In April, Humanists UK, alongside 20 royal colleges and other campaigning groups, wrote  a letter to The Times calling upon the then Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt to allow women in England to take abortion pills at home.

Last week, the Court of Session in Scotland threw out a legal challenge against home use in Scotland saying that such provision is in line with the provisions of the 1967 Abortion Act, which provides the legal framework for abortion in England, Scotland and Wales.

Humanists UK’s Campaigns Officer Rachel Taggart-Ryan commented, ‘We are delighted that the Department of Health and Social Care has announced its intention to bring abortion care into the 21st century.

‘Medical care has advanced in the fifty years since abortion was made legally accessible in England. There is no medical reason why, in the vast majority of cases, a woman should be forced to experience the effects of taking abortion pills whilst travelling from a clinic, instead of being able to manage those effects at a time and place suitable to her.’


For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson on richy@humanism.org.uk or 0781 55 89 636.

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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