Recently, I posted about the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) and their bid to challenge existing laws which state that women cannot take a pill at home after deciding to terminate their pregnancy. You can read that post here.
Now, it seems that the High Court has decided that the laws will remain unchanged and that women will continue to be required to attend a clinic for monitoring whilst undergoing this simple procedure. An excellent course of treatment for those with health issues, inadequate care and limited resources to provide for themselves. Not quite to great for the women who end up traumatised by the lack of counselling, sterile environment and unnecessary foreign surroundings. Not quite so great for a large number of women who ARE able to look after themselves and who are able to avoid a lot of painful extra appointments to clinics.
In this article from the BBC, BPAS expresses concern over the fact that women have been revoked the power to choose when and where they take their pills. It also speaks of the service’s views that there is a possibility that women could suffer bleeding etc on their way home from the clinic; taking the pills at home would eliminate the risk of this happening when they are alone. If a woman is able to make an informed choice about her treatment and it is believed that she will be cared for at home, by loved ones, then any such outcome would be dealt with promptly- surely?
The High Court’s ruling seems to assume that only young women with a lack of maturity or self-awareness will ever find themselves in the position of having to terminate a pregnancy. It seems to assume that all women in this position cannot be trusted to take their pills at home. It also seems to assume that unnecessary trips to clinics is no big deal at all.
On the other side of the argument, there are places, such as Northern Ireland, where abortion is still illegal. At least women in this country are allowed to make a decision about their own bodies and that decision must be respected. Its not an easy decision to make, for any woman, and it isn’t just restricted to undeducated young women.
I still believe that each and every case should be assessed on its own merits and that women should ultimately be given the right to decide on the circumstances of their treatment. I hope that the Health Secretary does decide to amend the law, but until then I guess English women should be thankful that they have at least some element of choice when it comes to their own bodies.