Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, home abortions allowed women to terminate their pregnancies (of up to ten weeks) in the comfort of their homes. Given the severity of the pandemic, it was a welcomed reform to avoid travel into hospitals and clinics. Following an e-consultation, the pills would be discretely posted to the woman and she would be able to terminate her pregnancy safely and comfortably at home. However, on August 29th 2022, this scheme is due to be reversed and will mean that home abortions will no longer be an option for women. I cannot help feeling that this change is detrimental to the well-being of many women across the UK.

Abortion is more than just a medical procedure or a blister-pack of pills; it is a choice that many women make that can entail trauma and heartbreak for a variety of reasons and nobody that has an abortion will be unchanged by its realities. For me, the option to be able to terminate a pregnancy at home is a crucial reform for the wellbeing of women, for the confidentiality of women and for the rights of women.

Without the continuation of home abortions, I would worry for the woman in an abusive relationship. I would worry for the woman who might be forced to carry her pregnancy through to full-term because she cannot get to a clinic without telling her family. I worry for the woman who will turn to illegal and unsafe measures to terminate her pregnancy. I worry for the woman who will never recover from the experience of a hospital.

If there is a way of making abortions less challenging and traumatic for a lot of women, then why are we reversing this reform?

It has become clear over the course of the past two years that the number of women seeking unsafe means of abortion has significantly reduced, showing the vast benefits of home abortion and the dangers of removing it.

It would be incorrect to think that home abortions are downplaying the seriousness of an abortion. It goes without saying that abortions are both mentally and physically demanding of the female body. So, for those women who are struggling with the demands of a pregnancy, the option of a home abortion lends itself to sanctity of mind, comfort and support.

Of course, some women are bound to find comfort in going into a hospital and being with medical professionals, but there are many women who would find medical presence stressful and upsetting. If we have a right to abortion, then why should we not get a say about where we have it? The choice to have an abortion at home has been so beneficial to those who do not want to go to a hospital for various reasons and has made abortion more accessible to those women in need.

It is important to note that even in the circumstance of a hospital abortion, the passing of the pregnancy takes place at home. A home abortion means that a woman does not have to have an ultrasound scan, go to the hospital or of having to tell anybody where they are going. Home abortions lend themselves to confidentiality and security.

The purpose of going to the hospital for an abortion is to have a scan to determine the stage of the pregnancy and to check the health of the woman. From speaking to women who have had home abortions, Lily* and Ruby*, they said the abortion care service BPAS has been nothing short of amazing in their e-consultations, making the women feel “safe and valued”, “removing all stigma” and “aiding them both emotionally and physically”.

The women told us “BPAS provided essential information prior to the abortion and afterwards, making sure they knew everything about you in order to reassure you as much as possible”. It is this care and support that enables home abortions to run so smoothly and be just as safe as an abortion in a hospital.

Whilst, it is clear that abortion care services are excelling in providing care over e-consultations, many have questioned the honesty of women in stating the state of their pregnancy. It would be very easy for women to lie about the stage of their pregnancy, resulting in a number of complications. However, when prescribed any medication, the doctor entrusts the patient to take the medication as per their advice. We do not question women with pregnancy-induced diabetes about taking their insulin, nor do we question any patient given potentially dangerous medicines.

So why are we doubting the honesty of women wanting to end their pregnancies? Are we really asking the question can we trust women with their own bodies?

So, I find myself hoping that if any woman ever has to make the difficult choice to have an abortion, she will have the choice to use the ‘pills-by-post’ system. But regardless of where their abortion takes place, I think it is important to remember the emotional and physical demands of abortion and to remember that any woman going through this should be treated with respect and kindness.

It is a duty of care to develop and adapt the abortion system to protect the rights of women, but also to recognise that these changes will positively impact more women in this difficult time. Abortions are challenging enough. They do not need to be made more difficult.

*Names have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the women

Words by: Niva Yadav

Edited by: Yasmine Moro Virion

Her Campus Placeholder Avatar
Niva Yadav

Leeds '22

A third-year English Lit student who loves big gossips about sex, relationships and modern day feminism in Leeds