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Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 11th February 2020.

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Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh Conservative, Gainsborough

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department’s guidance allowing misoprostol to be taken at home, what steps he has (a) taken and (b) plans to take in the next six months to ensure that (i) misoprostol is only given to the woman who wish to use it, and (ii) there is appropriate screening to ensure women are not being compelled to take misoprostol against their will; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

Medical abortion is a two-stage process which requires the administration of Mifepristone followed by Misoprostol to successfully complete the procedure. Misoprostol can only prescribed for home use when the woman has requested an early medical abortion and given her informed consent after being assessed by two doctors as meeting the legal grounds for termination of pregnancy as set out in the Abortion Act 1967. The first stage, Mifepristone, must continue to be administered in an National Health Service hospital or an approved independent sector clinic.

Safeguards are in place under the Department’s required standard operating procedures (RSOPs) for independent sector abortion providers to identify women and young girls who may feel coerced or endangered and enable them to raise their concerns in confidence. Guidance produced by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists outlines best clinical practice for medical abortion at home and safeguarding vulnerable women and young girls and is available at the following link:

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