Only half of those eligible, chose pills by post

On March 30th, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 lockdown and the ensuing difficulties facing those needing to visit clinics, the Secretary of State for the Department of Health and Social Care approved the home of a pregnant woman as a place in which both medications for an early medical abortion could be taken.

Across England and Wales, in the three months April to June, of the 47,000 eligible for abortion at home (i.e. less than 10 weeks gestational age), 23,000 took advantage of this. 24,000 of those eligible made visits to a clinic before proceeding with their abortion. [data from DHSC]

So, just under 50% of those eligible chose and were prescribed pills-by-post, 43% of the total abortions in these three months.

Extrapolating for the five months, April to end of August, this would indicate an estimated 38,000 abortions using pills-by-post, whilst those eligible would total 78,000 and the total number of abortions in the same period would be 91,000.

This means that the claimed 90,000 using pills-by-post during lockdown, in the Daily Mirror on August 29th, is a much higher estimate than one extrapolated from the official data (38k vs 90k). The 90,000 quoted is even higher than the projected total number of eligible cases, 78,000.

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