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Medicines regulation and law

Wales updates guidance on medical abortion at home

Vaughan Gething, Welsh health secretary

Source: Nick Treharne

Vaughan Gething, the Welsh health secretary, said the change “offers additional choice to women requesting an abortion and enables them to complete treatment in an environment where they feel most comfortable”

A change in termination of pregnancy rules will enable women in Wales to take the second abortion pill at home, Welsh health secretary Vaughan Gething announced on 29 June 2018.

After listening to the views of clinicians and women’s groups, Gething confirmed that guidance will be issued to health boards in Wales to allow misoprostol — the second medicine taken in a medical termination — to be self-administered at home.

He said that women meeting the inclusion criteria will need to attend a clinic for the administration of mifepristone, the first medicine. They will then have the option to be discharged home to self-administer misoprostol. However, women can still attend a clinic if they prefer.

Gething said the change “offers additional choice to women requesting an abortion and enables them to complete treatment in an environment where they feel most comfortable”.

He added that the change would also reduce the burden on clinical resources, increase the availability of appointments for women who want to access termination of pregnancy services, and enable more women to access abortion provision at an earlier point in their pregnancy.

In October 2017, Scotland became the first country in the UK to enable women to take the termination of pregnancy pill in their own homes.

Currently, women in England are unable to take the second abortion pill at home.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service, which provides abortion services throughout the UK, has called for women in all UK countries to have access to the same care.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20205096

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