Care Not Criminalisation
Dear Minister for Vaccines and Public Health,
I am writing to express my profound concern about the impact of revoking permission for telemedical abortion care on women's health and wellbeing, the NHS, and the safety of some of the most vulnerable women in our society.
Telemedical abortion care has been of significant benefit to women in the most challenging of circumstances who may struggle to access in-clinic care. Prior to the introduction of at-home early medical abortion, women experiencing domestic violence, those caring for disabled children, and those unable to safely leave their homes to attend for appointments risked criminalisation - and up to life imprisonment - by using abortion medication purchased online to end pregnancies they could not continue. Since telemedicine was introduced, the numbers turning to unlawful means to end a pregnancy has drastically reduced.
Revoking telemedicine would place the safety of vulnerable women and girls at risk for entirely political purposes. To do so would be utterly cruel.
Even before the pandemic, NICE and the RCOG recommended that the NHS should provide telemedical abortion care for women who prefered this as they recognised how it helps vulnerable patients. Multiple peer-review studies have found that telemedicine is safe, effective, and preferred by a majority of women. There is no clinical justification for forcing every single person accessing an abortion to attend a clinic simply to take medicines which could be safely taken at home - to do so would be a wasteful use of precious healthcare resources, and would place a significant strain on an already struggling NHS. Telemedicine is supported by medical bodies including the RCOG and RCM, charities working with victims of domestic abuse such as Women's Aid, and the majority of the public.
Please, I ask that you do the right thing - protect women's health and wellbeing, protect vulnerable women from the risk of criminalisation, and protect access to safe, legal at-home early medical abortion care.
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