Abortion pills spark major review demand as emergency call outs rise

What to expect when you visit a clinic for an abortion pill

Parliamentarians have demanded a review into the availability of home abortion pills after a series of Freedom of Information requests revealed there had been a dramatic increase in emergency calls from women who had taken them. According to the results since the pills first became available in 2018 there has been a doubling of emergency calls in some areas.

Home birth control pills were made permanently available in 2022 despite concerns over women’s health and the potential side effects.

The decision came following an amendment Health and Care Bill by Tory peer Baroness Sugg last year and was then supported by the Government and Opposition parties in the Commons.

But according to FOIs, the use of abortion pills at home, which were first allowed in 2018, has resulted in an increase in emergency calls for ambulances.

In London, there was a 26 percent rise, while in East Anglia, calls more than doubled with a 59 percent rise in ambulances attending.

According to the results in Wales, there has been a doubling in calls while in the south Central region, it is up 25 percent and in North West of England, up 15 percent.

The South West region has reported a 30 percent rise.

Former children’s minister Sir John Hayes has called for a review into the use of the pills.

He said: “These figures are deeply troubling and support those doctors and experts who warned against introducing pills by post. It also puts a sword to the lie that this change was without risk and a cheaper option than asking women to attend a clinic where they could access medical support.

“The Department of Health must launch an urgent review into the safety of abortions which take place at home, and if they are deemed to be less safe, then the law should be looked at again.”

Tory peer Lord Jackson, who opposed Baroness Sugg’s amendment last year, also called for a review.

He said: “It’s appalling that proponents of so-called choice support a policy which endangers the health and wellbeing of so many women and has been nodded through Parliament with so little scrutiny and oversight.

“In no other area of women’s health policy would this be permissible.”

When she introduced her amendment, Baroness Sugg said: “There is an ever-growing body of evidence proving that this is the right thing to do. It’s safe, effective, better for women, better for the NHS and better for providers.”

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