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Statement from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in response to the decision by the Court of Appeal

News 25 September 2020

The Court of Appeal has dismissed attempts by anti-choice organisations to restrict access to abortion.

In a case brought against the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, following the Government’s decision to allow abortion medications to be taken in a woman’s home earlier this year, judges dismissed the grounds of the appeal noting that the appellant’s submissions “failed to reflect the technological advances which have taken place” and that “technology has obviated the need for personal attendance at a clinic for a woman seeking assessment for early medical abortion.”

Judges concluded by stating that “For the reasons given, a woman’s home is suitable as such a “place””.

 

Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said:

“Today’s ruling by the Court of Appeal to dismiss the case brought by anti-choice pressure groups to restrict access to abortion is welcome. Since home use of abortion medication was permitted earlier in the year in response to the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen reduced waiting times for women requesting an abortion and reduced average gestation at the time of procedure. Abortion is a low risk procedure, and the risks are lower the earlier the procedure can take place.

“Those who brought this case attempted to use the law to restrict the rights of women – risking their health and wellbeing – as well as the health of doctors, nurses and midwives, as the UK enters the next phase of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is clear that the UK overwhelmingly supports a woman’s ability to determine her own sexual and reproductive health decisions and that anti-choice groups have suffered another defeat in their attempts to control and restrict the choices of others.”

 

ENDS

 

For media enquiries, please contact the RCOG press office on +44 (0)20 7045 6773 or email pressoffice@rcog.org.uk

 

Notes to editors

  • Healthcare is devolved across the four nations. The UK Government, Welsh Government and Scottish Government all provided temporary regulatory approval to allow for telemedicine during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which is active across England, Wales, and Scotland. The UK Government has since committed to a public consultation on whether to make this temporary approval permanent.
  • The RCOG published Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection and abortion care to support healthcare professionals during the pandemic, alongside Q&As for people seeking an abortion.
  • Despite claims from anti-choice organisations, there have been no maternal deaths associated with abortion delivered via telemedicine. This has been confirmed by the Care Quality Commission.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is a medical charity that champions the provision of high-quality women’s healthcare in the UK and beyond. It is dedicated to encouraging the study and advancing the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology. It does this through postgraduate medical education and training and the publication of clinical guidelines and reports on aspects of the specialty and service provision.