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An undercover investigation reveals ‘illegal’ and ‘unsafe’ home abortions

August 2020

A Christian group has conducted an undercover investigation and accused abortion providers of putting women at risk by breaking the rules for distributing termination pills.

Christian Concern commissioned a public health consultant, Kevin Duffy, to carry out a research exercise. Eight volunteers took part in an industry standard ‘mystery client’ exercise to see if British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) and Marie Stopes UK were abiding by the law and properly caring for women.

According to Christian Concern, pills were sent to the volunteers in every case, despite using false names, dates of birth, and gestational dates. In one case, the volunteer gave a date that could only have led to an abortion beyond the 10-week safety limit given in the regulations.

Christian Concern says its investigation shows that these home abortion schemes are wide open to abuse and leading to dangerous and illegal ‘DIY’ abortions.

During lockdown, women were given access to abortion services over the telephone, without the need to see a doctor. This decision to allow so-called ‘telemedicine’ for abortions is currently being legally challenged by Christian Concern.

Kevin Duffy, a former Global Director of Clinics Development at Marie Stopes International, who led the investigation, said: ‘The investigation clearly demonstrates that abortion at home by pills-by-post is not safe, and on many occasions it oversteps legal boundaries without any proper scrutiny.’

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, said: ‘This undercover operation has exposed the dangers to vulnerable women as a result of the change in the law. This unsafe, and frequently illegal service, is provided by an abortion industry which wields huge influence at the heart of UK government.’

BPAS labelled the investigation a ‘meaningless exercise’ while Marie Stopes said it trusted women to give honest information and ‘the only people who abuse that system are radical anti-choice organisations desperate to restrict access to legal abortion care’.