Abortion: Mental Health

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 9th July 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Stroud Baroness Stroud Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the impact on the mental health of women performing an early medical abortion on their own at home during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

Photo of Lord Bethell Lord Bethell The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Department is carefully monitoring the impact of and compliance with the temporary approval of home administration of both sets of abortion medication during the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials have regular meetings with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Care Quality Commission and abortion service providers to discuss the impact and any issues arising.

The Department’s Required Standard Operating Procedures for independent sector providers set out that ‘Women are not required to have compulsory counselling or compulsory time for reflection before the abortion. Clinicians caring for women requesting abortion should be able to identify those who require more support than can be provided in the routine abortion service setting, for example young women, those with a pre-existing mental health condition, those who are subject to sexual violence or poor social support, or where there is evidence of coercion. For the minority of women who require formal, therapeutic counselling, services should have referral pathways in place with access to trained counsellors with appropriate expertise.’

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