During the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, British officials allowed women to receive abortion pills through the mail and carry out abortions with no medical supervision.
Now, a poll shows that nearly nine of 10 doctors worry about the possible damage that will result.
The poll by the Savanta ComRes group, was commissioned by the U.K. charities Christian Concern and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.
“The service, Christian Concern said, has “resulted in medical practitioners no longer having proper oversight and management over the abortion process.”
“The policy has led to serious issues with illegal abortions and already highly vulnerable women experiencing life-changing complications.”
The British government now is consulting the public on making the temporary service permanent.
- 86% of general practitioners are concerned about the risk of women being coerced into having an abortion, even past the legal limit of 10 weeks.
- 87% are concerned about women being at risk of unwanted abortions resulting from domestic abuse where a doctor not seeing the pregnant woman in-person.
- 74% of GPs polled were also concerned about women finding it distressing potentially having to dispose of the terminated pregnancy themselves, either into a toilet or sanitary pads.
- The majority of GPs (57%) say they are concerned about women having a medical abortion at home after a phone or video consultation with a doctor.
- 82% say they are concerned about the possibility of abortion pills being falsely obtained for another person with a telemedicine abortion appointment where the doctor has not seen the woman in person.
Dr. Gregory Gardner, a GP and honorary clinical lecturer at the University of Birmingham, said: “Having recently encountered a case of patient identity fraud, this poll reflects significant concern among GPs of the vulnerability of women seeking abortion advice by telemedicine. The potential for coercion and medical error is real, and properly acknowledged in the poll by a large majority of GPs.”
John Deighan of the SPUC added, “These results are a searing indictment of a rushed, badly-thought through policy. The Department of Health is clearly and completely out of touch with GP’s opinion on this issue. This reckless policy must end.
“The risks of coercion are obvious, as are the mental health implications for women of having to dispose of a terminated pregnancy themselves. Despite the rise in domestic violence during COVID-19 lockdown the government has chosen to abandon woman to DIY abortion, with no safeguarding to protect them from coercion or abuse. The sad reality is that many more woman will, likely, now be coerced into abortion from an abusive partner.”
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