Bishop John Sherrington, Lead Bishop for Life Issues for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, has expressed his shock that the Health Secretary plans to introduce temporary measures to allow early abortions at home without any medical supervision present:
“We recognise that the NHS is under unique pressure and celebrate the heroic work of healthcare professionals at this time.
“We understand why the government wishes to keep women away from hospital at this time but are shocked to hear that the Secretary of State for Health plans to introduce temporary measures to allow telemedicine and early DIY abortion at home without any medical supervision present. Rejected earlier in the week, this radical measure is now being introduced again.
“On Monday Lord Bethell (Health Minister) said ‘We believe it is an essential safeguard that a woman attends a clinic to ensure that they can be seen alone’. Why is it no longer essential? Why was it not discussed in Parliament between Monday and Wednesday?
“These measures fundamentally change access to abortion in England and Wales for the foreseeable future. Whilst these are emergency times, these measures further endanger women who, for example, are rushed into decisions by abusive partners and act without any proper consultation.
“They diminish the seriousness with which these decisions should be taken and the physical and psychological dangers of the administration of these drugs at home.
“We request that the government publish a time limit as it has done for other emergency legislation.
“Along with all those who cherish and uphold the value of human life, the Church will be vigilant to see that these measures, if introduced, are rescinded as soon as possible so that the present, albeit unsatisfactory, law Is followed.”
Bishop John Sherrington
Lead Bishop for Life Issues
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
29 March 2020