Scots forced to travel to England for abortion

Since the pandemic, people wishing to have an abortion in England have had access to a ‘pills in the mail’ procedure, ensuring continued and safe access to abortion without having to leave their homes. But in Scotland, recent statistics have revealed that people – including teenagers as young as 16 – are struggling to get the right care when it comes to home abortions.

In fact, a worrying number of people have been forced to travel 700 miles from Scotland to England to have abortions because some NHS boards in Scotland will not perform abortions beyond 15 weeks – nine weeks earlier than politics in England.

According data revealed by NHS England2,057 women living in Scotland had abortions performed in England or Wales between 2010 and 2020. While The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) revealed that 80 of its patients over the past two years have been forced to travel south for abortions, most of which were surgical. Surprisingly, some people were unable to abort at all, which meant that they had to continue with their pregnancy despite their refusal.

“Despite the positive roll-out of telemedicine across major health boards, we are deeply concerned that for many women in Scotland home use of abortion drugs is simply not an option,” said Clare Murphy, CEO of BPAS.

She continued: “Unfortunately at BPAS we regularly treat Scottish women in clinics in England who have been unable to access abortion care locally. Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen about one Scottish woman every week who has had to travel to England. »

In response, a Scottish government spokesman said Subway: “When an NHS board cannot offer abortion services beyond 20 weeks – if a woman needs to have a late-stage abortion [outside] in Scotland for clinical and safety reasons, their care is paid for by NHS Scotland.

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It is clear that we must act when it comes to establishing late stage services in Scotland, so that people are safe, cared for and can make their abortion decisions effortlessly and as locally as possible.

BPAS said in a Tweet that, despite years of concern, nothing is being done. But change box occur. If you want to get involved, sign the Withdrawal campaign to help end the harassment of abortion clinics, or if you are able to do so, donate to BPAS here.

Cosmopolitan UK has contacted NHS Scotland for comment.


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