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2017-19 governmental decisions to allow home use of misoprostol for early medical abortion in the UK.





Home use of misoprostol for early medical abortion has long been an established practice in several countries. It is a safe, effective, and dignified means of obtaining a legal abortion, with a low risk of complications. In the UK, however, the practice has only recently been permitted. Prior to the change, women were required to attend a clinic to be observed taking the drug, before being discharged to go home and see through the process. The requirement to attend a clinic was a result of political rather than medical reasoning; a desire not to provoke pro-life groups. It also highlighted an inconsistency whereby misoprostol was prescribed for home use to women who had suffered an incomplete miscarriage. Failure to permit home use of misoprostol for early medical abortion has caused women to suffer trauma when experiencing the effects of the drug when returning home from clinics, in addition to acting as an obstacle to access for women living in remote areas with no nearby clinic. Through an overview of recent developments in UK abortion policy, I demonstrate the lack of good, medical reasons for the delayed change. Further, I suggest appropriate future steps to be taken by policymakers.

Acceptance Date Apr 28, 2020
Publication Date May 23, 2020
Journal Health Policy
Print ISSN 0168-8510
Publisher Elsevier
Pages 679 - 683
Publisher URL