- Provisions for at home early medical abortions to be made permanent from 30 August.
- National safeguarding guidance to be published by Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health for under-18s accessing early medical abortions.
- Additional data on use of remote abortions to be gathered to better understand use of remote abortion services.
Women in England and Wales will be able to permanently access early medical abortions at home from 30 August.
New legislation will allow women to access pills for early medical abortion via a teleconsultation, and for both pills to be taken at home for gestation of up to nine weeks and six days.
The update comes as all independent sector abortion clinics in England have been reapproved, ensuring abortion services continue to be available to women across the country. All current approvals are valid until 31 July 2026.
Minister for Public Health, Maggie Throup, said:
“The wellbeing and safety of women requiring access to abortion services is paramount.
“With these measures women will have more choice in how and where they access abortion services, while ensuring robust data is collected to ensure their continued safety.”
To ensure the continued safety of children and young people, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health will publish safeguarding guidance for under-18s accessing early medical abortion services.
The guidance, which will be published shortly, reinforces the principles that every young person should have access to early medical abortions in a timely manner and that their holistic and safeguarding needs must be addressed by providers.
To effectively monitor the impact and use of at home early medical abortions, doctors will be required to include information on place of termination, place of consultation as well as whether the consultation was fully remote on abortion notification forms. This data will allow for analysis of trends in abortion provision as well as monitoring pathways for home-use abortions.
Doctors will also be required to certify in “good faith” that the gestation period is below 10 weeks for abortion pills prescribed from home and if one or both pills are taken at a woman’s home.
The amendments to the notification forms and certification requirement are set out in the Abortion (Amendment) Regulations 2022. These changes follow a free vote by Members of Parliament in March 2022.
Notes to editors:
- The Abortion Act will be amended from 30 August to allow eligible women in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy (nine weeks and six days) to continue to access pills for early medical abortion via a teleconsultation, and for both pills to be taken at home.
- Doctors will be required to certify in “good faith” that the gestation period is below 10 weeks if the doctor terminating the pregnancy prescribes the abortion pills from their home, or if one or both pills for early medical abortion are to be taken by the pregnant woman at her home.
- The Department of Health and Social Care have published guidance today (23 August) for registered medical practitioners to support them in completing the required certificate.
- The Department of Health and Social Care will set also out expectations around implementation of RCPCH safeguarding guidance, including timeframes, in due course.