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Two new studies show why early abortion care at home should be made permanent

Abortion  •  19 February 2021  •  3 min read



London, Friday, 19th February 2021

Two new studies show why early abortion care at home should be made permanent

Two new studies analysing the latest data on early medical abortions have found that allowing abortions at home has provided a safe, effective, more accessible service that patients prefer.

New research from MSI Reproductive Choices UK focusing on patient voice has revealed that abortion at home is the preferred choice for 8 out of 10 women and two thirds would choose it again should they ever need an abortion in future, even if Covid-19 were no longer an issue.

Jonathan Lord, MSI Reproductive Choices’ UK Medical Director and co-author of the report said:

“It’s widely accepted that telemedicine is clinically effective. We can now say confidently that it’s also preferable for most patients.

“Our research shows that at-home abortion is a valued, private, convenient and more accessible option, especially for those who find in-clinic visits logistically or emotionally challenging.”

MSI UK is also proud to have collaborated on the largest ever study of abortion care with researchers at the University of Texas, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service and National Unplanned Pregnancy Advisory Service. This study analysed the outcomes of more than 50,000 early medical abortions and found that:

  • Waiting times from when the woman has her consultation to treatment improved from 10.7 days to 6.5 days
  • The effectiveness of the treatment remained the same for abortions carried out through the traditional service and the telemedicine service.
  • There were no cases of significant infection requiring hospital admission or major surgery. Contrary to misleading claims, no person died from having an early medical abortion at home.

Prior to the telemedicine service being approved, anyone seeking an abortion needed to attend in-person to receive a clinically unnecessary ultrasound scan and take the medication used to bring about an abortion within the clinic. But at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) urged the Government to change the law so that women could access early medical abortions at home. This was approved in England in March 2020 and shortly after in Scotland and Wales. On 6th April, MSI Reproductive Choices UK, launched its award-winning telemedicine early medical abortion service.

As the UK government consultation on whether to make telemedicine permanent in England draws to a close next week, MSI UK’s hopes its new research will add to the growing global body of evidence in support of keeping this vital pathway beyond the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Jonathan Lord added: “At MSI Reproductive Choices UK, we believe the global evidence to support telemedicine is now so strong that it’s hard to see how removing this pathway could be justified. We hope the government decides that it can continue to trust women to take their own decisions about what is best for their reproductive health.”



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