UK Rolls Back Abortion Restrictions During Pandemic

Despite stating March 23 that there would be no change to abortion regulations, the United Kingdom’s Department for Health and Social Care announced new measures March 30 allowing women to take abortion drugs at home without medical supervision.

Pro-life advocates call the decision a “double U-turn,” as DHSC initially announced alterations to the abortion law on Twitter March 23. But just a few hours later, the government reversed course, claiming that the information was “published in error.” U.K. Health Secretary Matthew Hancock shortly followed with a statement in Parliament categorically denying any plans to change the law on abortion.

Now in another reversal, DHSC has officially approved temporary legislation to ensure at-home access to so-called medical abortion during the coronavirus pandemic.

Christian Concern, a British conservative Christian organization, announced March 31 that it is planning to mount a legal challenge to the government’s decision. The organization argues the change to the abortion law was made without proper parliamentary scrutiny, making it unconstitutional.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, commented on the situation:

“Abortion has nothing to do with coronavirus, and abusing public trust to advance a different agenda undermines trust in the government and effectiveness of response to the epidemic. There are no proposals to our knowledge to use abortion clinics’ capacity or personnel to respond to coronavirus.

“The idea that our medical profession is prepared to prescribe such powerful drugs, in effect on demand, without seeing the patient is disturbing.”

Williams added: “Something has gone wrong at the heart of our democratic systems when such a policy is introduced without proper public scrutiny, especially when our National Health Service is and will be under such strain in the coming weeks and months. We call on the government to urgently repeal these changes.”

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