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Early at-home abortions to continue

The two sets of pills required for an early medical abortion can be taken in a woman’s own home (PA)
The two sets of pills required for an early medical abortion can be taken in a woman’s own home (PA)

Early medical abortions will continue to be carried out at home, the women’s health minister has announced.

Due to restrictions during the pandemic, arrangements were put in place to allow women to take the two sets of pills required for an early medical abortion in their own home.

There had been calls for this arrangement to continue as services resume following the easing of the restrictions.

On Thursday, Maree Todd confirmed access to the treatment in a domestic setting will still be offered where it is judged to be clinically appropriate.

Ms Todd said: “We have seen that current arrangements for EMAH (early medical abortion at home) have helped access to abortion to continue without delays during the pandemic.

Maree Todd
Women’s health minister Maree Todd said early medical abortion at home ‘will continue as part of the standard treatments available’ (PA)

“I am satisfied that current arrangements should continue, so today I am confirming that the provision of these services to continue as part of the standard treatments available within our NHS, when clinically appropriate.

“As with all treatment in the NHS, we will continue to monitor its outcomes and any findings of the ongoing expert evaluation being carried out by health professionals and researchers.”

Chief Medical Officer Professor Sir Gregor Smith said the primary concern is for services to remain safe and meet the needs of patients.

He added: “The arrangements put in place from March 2020 have allowed patients to take both abortion medications, mifepristone and misoprostol, at home in certain circumstances as coronavirus has been considered a serious and imminent threat to public health.”

He said any lessons from the ongoing evaluation of EMAH will be “reflected in the future”.