British Court Won’t Allow Weakening of Abortion Drug Laws

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 14, 2011   |   11:32AM   |   London, England

A British court ruled today that the British Pregnancy Advisory Service abortion business can’t weaken the safety laws surrounding the usage of the dangerous abortion drug RU 486.

BPAS had hoped to lobby the Department of Health to change the legal interpretation of laws on the drugs from saying all abortion drugs must be taken at the abortion center to saying they only need to be presented at the center. Although the drug is responsible for killing more than 13 women worldwide, including in England, BPAS wants to prevent women from taking both parts of the two-part drug at a hospital or medical center even though they may face significant medical complications.

BPAS had asked the court to reinterpret the Abortion Act 1967 to allow women to take misoprostol, used in conjunction with the chemical abortion drug RU 486, at home rather than in hospital.

Because the British government wouldn’t budge, BPAS took its case to the British High Court. However, the court dismissed the case and concluded it would open the door for other less proven abortion drugs to be taken outside of approved hospital settings.

The court, in its ruling, also made clear that the Secretary of State for Health has the power to approve a wider range of places where the drugs can be given in future – “including potentially the home.” That opens the door for changing the current health and safety standards and potentially putting women at risk. Still, current Health Secretary Andrew Lansley opposed the move when BPAS asked him to change the current rules.

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) intervened in the case, and evidence submitted by SPUC played a prominent part in Justice Supperstone’s judgment.

Katherine Hampton, an SPUC spokeswoman, said: “Today’s judgment is a victory for women. If BPAS had won this case, it would send out the false signal that there is a ‘safe’ route to abortion. That could lead to more abortions, and more dead babies and more suffering for women. It would also have led to further restrictions on conscientious objection to abortion by doctors and nurses.”

“The significance of this case is important internationally too, as chemical abortions are widely promoted in poorer countries, and any move to widen the practice here may adversely affect unborn babies and women around the world,” Hampton added. “We will continue to fight any similar moves to trivialize abortion.”

SPUC says the nature of the drug means that the woman must live with her abortion over the course of a number of days by having an abortion at home and suffering the distress of seeing the expelled body of the dead baby, which she is required to keep and return to the hospital or clinic to help determine if the abortion is complete.

If BPAS’s challenge had been successful, women taking misoprostol would go into labor at home, SPUC added, saying it can be very distressing as labor, usually associated with child-birth, now becomes associated with the delivery of a dead child.

The pro-life group also said the use of the abortion drug itself is riddled with potential complications including hemorrhage requiring blood transfusion, severe pain requiring strong pain killers, incomplete abortion, rupture of the uterus, vaginal bleeding, abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, muscle weakness, dizziness, flushing, chills, backache, difficulty in breathing, chest pain, palpitations, rise in temperature and fall in blood pressure.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, also responded to the ruling.

“We welcome the Court’s decision and its unwillingness to interpret the Abortion Act in a  way which could harm thousands of women and their families,” she said. “It is a welcome  message in a society which has been led to believe that abortion is an easy  ‘answer’ to an unplanned pregnancy. This legal challenge was put forward by  a major abortion provider despite the opposition of the Department of  Health, and despite concerns about the safety and well-being of woman at  home administering such a drug to themselves and inducing a miscarriage.”

“Britain has some of the most liberal abortion laws in Europe and one of the  highest abortion rates, and we need to reduce the number of abortions and  tighten the law, not relax it,” Williams added.