Skip to main content

Telemedical Abortion and Mitigating "Crisis Pregnancies"

In this briefing, Dr Milne outlines the need for telemedical abortion to continue to be available for women to prevent an increase in women experiencing "crisis" pregnancies. 

Telemedical Abortion and Mitigating In March 2020, the Department for Health and Social Care approved two temporary measures in England to ensure continued access to early medical abortion services whilst limiting the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • Women and girls are able to take both pills for early medical abortion up to 10 weeks in their own homes, without the need to first attend a hospital or clinic.
  • Registered medical practitioners (doctors) are able to prescribe both pills to women and girls for the treatment of early medical abortion up to 10 weeks from their own homes.

Evidence suggests that this temporary measure, known as “telemedical abortion”, is safe and has reduced harm to women by widening access to early medical abortion services, so preventing more women from experiencing “crisis pregnancies".

This briefing draws on research from Durham University, which suggests that discontinuing telemedical abortion would have a detrimental effect on a woman’s ability to access early medical abortions, thus increase the number of women who experience “crisis pregnancies". Research also concludes that continued provision of telemedical abortion services will not result in more women illegally accessing abortion to end a late-term pregnancy.

We recommend:

  • Early medical abortion services continue to be accessible through telemedical appointment, with medical practitioners permitted to prescribe both pills to women and girls for use in their own homes, and women and girls permitted to take both pills at home.
  • Home-use of prescribed pills for early medical abortions be made a permanent aspect of the abortion provision for women in England.

Read the briefing: Telemedical Abortion and Mitigating "Crisis" Pregnancies.

Published: February 2022

Find out more about why removal of telemedical abortion, thus requiring vulnerable women to attend appointments in clinics, will not prevent crisis pregnancies, nor safeguard children.

What is telemedical abortion and why is it important?

Watch Dr Milne talk about telemedical abortion and why continuation of its availability for women is important.

This is the image alt text