Women In England Can Soon Take An Abortion Pill At Home

illustrated by Mary Galloway.
Women in England will be able to take an abortion pill at home by the end of the year, the government has said today.
Under the new system, women will be able to take the second of two early abortion pills (misoprostol) at home after taking the first (mifepristone) at a clinic around 24-48 hours earlier.
The new system will give women in England the same abortion options as women in Wales and Scotland, where taking the second pill at home has been possible since last year.
Under the current system in England, women are required to take both pills at a clinic. This can be unnecessarily stressful and extremely traumatising, as women need to make two trips to a clinic in quick succession, and may find they begin miscarrying before completing their journey home.
Professor Lesley Regan, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), called today's announcement "a major step forward for women’s healthcare".
"This simple and practical measure will provide women with significantly more choice and is the most compassionate care we can give them," Professor Regan added. "It will allow women to avoid distress and embarrassment of bleeding and pain during their journey home from an unnecessary second visit to a clinic or hospital. It will also improve access to safe and regulated abortion care and take pressure off NHS services."
The Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, also welcomed the changes, saying: "Abortion can be a difficult experience so it is important that women feel safe and as comfortable as possible. This decision will increase choice for women and help ensure they receive safe and dignified care."
The new system will have a significant impact on the way abortion is carried out in England, where around four in five terminations are early medical abortions taking place before the 10-week mark.
Women in England will still have the option to take the second abortion pill at home if they wish, and the government has said "safeguards will be introduced to protect women undergoing this treatment at home".
While women in England will now have the same abortion choices as women in Wales and Scotland, abortion in Northern Ireland is still prohibited in the vast majority of cases, a position which has become increasingly controversial since Ireland's historic decision to repeal its abortion laws in May.
On Twitter, today's announcement has already shone a spotlight on the increasingly difficult-to-justify situation in Northern Ireland. Check out a series of reactions below.

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