RCOG/RCM joint statement response to management of early medical abortions during Covid-19 outbreak

on 24 March 2020 RCM Abortion Women's Rights Women Women's Choice RCOG - Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

We are disappointed by the Government’s decision not to allow home-use of mifepristone, the first drug used for early medical abortion in unprecedented circumstances , says the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) in a joint statement today.

Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the RCM and Dr Edward Morris, President of the RCOG, said:

“We are in unprecedented circumstances and health services are making difficult decisions every day. We support the Government's strategy to do everything we can to reduce contact with others in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, we are disappointed by the Government’s decision not to allow home-use of mifepristone, the first drug used for early medical abortion.

“We are in unprecedented circumstances and health services are making difficult decisions every day. We support the Government's strategy to do everything we can to reduce contact with others in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, we are disappointed by the Government’s decision not to allow home-use of mifepristone, the first drug used for early medical abortion.

“This change in practice which the Government announced and later revoked would have enabled women to access care remotely through video and teleconference, with treatment sent by post. This would have reduced pressure on an already overwhelmed health system, limited risk of coronavirus infection for women, their families and healthcare professionals, while ensuring safe and timely access to abortion care.

“The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends greater use of telemedicine to deliver services, and in these challenging circumstances this is a complete necessity. Inaction is reckless and risks the health and wellbeing of women and frontline NHS workers.

"Abortion services take the safeguarding of women seriously, and if this care cannot be provided, women may be forced to seek an unregulated and illegal abortion."

Ends

Note to editors

For media enquiries, please contact the RCOG press office on +44 (0)20 7772 6300/444 or email [email protected] To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected] 

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists 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.

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