To: Robin Swann MLA, Minister for Health, Northern Ireland
Allow Remote Abortion Provision in NI
Use his power of designation in accordance with the Legal Framework for Abortion NI to provide a telemedicine service to those requiring early medical abortions in Northern Ireland.
Why is this important?
In the next 13 weeks as the pandemic reaches its peak, hundreds of women and pregnant people in Northern Ireland will need an early medical abortion. The government must ensure that both patients and medical staff are not placed at unnecessary risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are all being asked to stay at home for the safety of the whole country. It is unacceptable that the health of patients and healthcare workers in NI will be put at risk by enforcing unnecessary travel to clinic appointments. We know that there is the capacity to provide a telemedicine in NI immediately. Millions of women around the world have successfully used abortion pills, which the World Health Organisation states are a safe and effective means of early medical abortion. Additionally other governments have recognised the need for abortion care at home during this crisis.
Failure to provide a telemedicine service will leave many women and pregnant people unable to access essential abortion care and may lead them to other unsafe means. It will also place unnecessary strain on healthcare services and put staff in danger during an already extremely difficult time.
We are calling on the NI Health Minister to;
(1) introduce remote consultations for abortion and no criminalisation for any nurse, midwife or doctor who provides remote abortion care during this emergency
(2) allow patients to take both abortion medications in the safety of their own home
(3) recognise there is no safe way to access abortion care in England during the crisis