Pro-life advocates say a British judge’s ruling that women cannot perform a “bedroom abortion” by taking pills at home instead of at a clinic will prevent abortions from being even more traumatic and widespread.
Margaret Cuthill, national coordinator of Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline, said her organization was encouraged by the judgment.
“Abortion is not good medicine for women, and does damage the emotional and psychological lives of those in crisis that make this decision. Every woman is impacted by the pregnancy loss, but this procedure adds another mentally-traumatic dimension to the abortion process.”
Women in a crisis pregnancy are vulnerable and react from “fear and panic” because they want to be “un-pregnant,” she said.
“To be offered a bedroom abortion is an emotional get-out clause many in ignorance will choose. It is really an abuse too far and will add to the trauma of guilt and grief they may experience at some future stage in life,” Cuthill said in a Feb. 15 statement.
The case involves early chemical abortions which can be performed in the first nine weeks of a pregnancy. They are induced by taking two sets of tablets between 24 and 48 hours apart.
Britain’s largest abortion provider, BPAS, sought to change the interpretation of the law so that women could take the second set of drugs needed to induce an early abortion while at home. The taxpayer-subsidized BPAS had claimed that the second trip to take the pill at a clinic or hospital was “medically unnecessary.”
Mr. Justice Supperstone’s ruling sided with the Department of Health, which insisted that both sets of drugs amounted to “treatment” and so must take place on medical premises.
Cuthill said she was “appalled” that BPAS showed no concern for “the woman who is in her home, in pain, bleeding and struggling with the choice she has made.”
Katherine Hampton, a spokeswoman for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said a different ruling in the case would “send out the false signal that there is a ‘safe’ route to abortion.”
The case could also have led to further restrictions on conscientious objections to abortion. In addition, the case could have international effects because chemical abortions are widely promoted in poorer countries which look to the U.K. for standards of practice.
“We will continue to fight any similar moves to trivialize abortion,” Hampton commented.
About 195,743 abortions were performed in England and Wales in 2009.