To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that women and girls seeking abortion under the March 2020 regulations to enable at-home abortions receive adequate support and assistance (a) when they wish to continue the pregnancy but are concerned about covid-19 and (b) in other circumstances.
The Required Standard Operating Procedures set out in the Department’s Procedures for the Approval of Independent Sector Places for the Termination of Pregnancy require that all women requesting an abortion should be offered the opportunity to discuss their options and choices with a trained counsellor and this offer should be regularly repeated. Guidance from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists sets out that healthcare staff caring for women requesting abortion should identify those who require more support in the decision-making process and pathways to additional support, including counselling and social services, should be available. All abortion providers should ensure that women have the time and space to discuss their reasons for seeking abortion. Impartial, accurate information is supplied to help the woman consider her options so she can reach an informed choice this should include information on the impact of a COVID-19 diagnosis on pregnancy if this is a particular concern.