Abortion: Telemedicine

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 23 May 2024.

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Photo of Lord Jackson of Peterborough Lord Jackson of Peterborough Conservative

To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Markham on 9 May (HL4286), whether they have issued guidance to telemedicine providers about complying with the prohibition of termination of pregnancy at gestations over 10 weeks outside a National Health Service facility or an approved place; and if not, why.

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

No specific guidance has been issued, however, all abortion providers are aware that termination of pregnancy in England and Wales can only be provided within the legal framework laid down in the Abortion Act 1967.

The legal framework for home use of early medical abortion pills is set out in the Department’s guidance, Abortion: procedures for the approval of independent sector places for termination of pregnancy (abortion) in England. This guidance applies to independent sector abortion clinics and states that the Abortion Act 1967 allows women having an abortion during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, specifically up to nine weeks and six days gestation, to take one or both medicines for an early medical abortion at home. It also highlights that women having an early medical abortion at home should be given information on the implications, health and otherwise, of taking the abortion medicine beyond the legal limit of nine weeks and six days gestation.

In addition, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guideline on abortion care, to which all abortion providers are expected to have due regard, highlights that women who are having a medical abortion and will be taking the first pill, mifepristone, up to and including nine weeks six days gestation, can be offered the option of expulsion at home.

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