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The Government tried to take away reproductive rights from women in England. Let’s talk about it.

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Aberdeen chapter.

The pill by post was a helpful method for women to access abortions during the pandemic throughout lockdowns and self-isolation periods. This was a safe a healthy way for women to terminate unwanted pregnancies during the COVID-19 pandemic. It allows women to take both pills for early medical abortion up to 9 weeks and 6 days gestation at home and ensured continued safe access to abortion services in England during the pandemic. So why ditch such a useful service? 

On the 24th of February, the UK Government announced it would be abandoning the rights to at-home early medical abortions. The government aimed to terminate at-home abortions by midnight on the 29th of August 2022. According to BPAS and RCOG, this move from the government is a “serious step backwards” when it comes to abortion rights. I don’t know how many times feminist organisations have to say taking away abortion services does not stop abortions; it stops SAFE abortions and puts women’s reproductive health at risk. 

Thankfully, on the 30th of March, MPs voted against this government policy by 215-188 in favour of making at-home early abortion services permanent. This was a huge win for women across England. However, one thing we cannot ignore is the UK Government was aiming to take such an important right away from women. While other abortion services were still due to continue under government plans, one thing people seem to forget is the discomfort women feel in a clinic when terminating a pregnancy. The comfort of one’s own home when terminating a pregnancy will often be preferable to sitting in a room with a stranger. Additionally, the difficulty of accessibility is no longer an issue with the pill by post as those working on zero-hour contracts, key workers, and others facing accessibility challenges are able to have easy access to telemedicine care. 

While the passing of at-home medical abortions to be permanent is a massive win for women in England, it is important to note cabinet members chose to vote against this policy. Having viewed the voting record of some government ministers, it is clear there are anti-choice politicians in certain governmental departments.  

The reproductive health and safety of women are not a priority to the government. Instead, personal views, especially that of men, seem to override the medical needs of women and the facts and figures provided by health experts. According to Dr Edward Morris, the president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists “Telemedicine care for early medical abortion has been one of the few success stories of the pandemic, where barriers have been removed to allow women to access an essential form of healthcare”. This is great evidence to suggest keeping this policy in place will allow for better reproductive care for women.  

Telemedicine has allowed women to access treatment sooner and is greatly preferred over going to a clinic for treatment. Around 80% of women have said telemedicine is a preferred option and they would choose it in the future. Why would anyone want to scrap something so beneficial? 

Esmee Johnston

Aberdeen '22

4th year Politics and International Relations student