Based on official data, it’s likely that there have been 2,800 failed, incomplete abortions self-administered by women at home since the start of April; 350 incomplete every month.
Official government data issued by the Department of Health and Social Care show that during April-June there was a monthly average of 17,800 abortions across England and Wales.
In this period, the monthly average of those using the newly approved telemedicine option, which permits a woman to receive the abortion pills without attending a clinic, was 7,600, 43% of the total; since approval, a monthly average of 10,100 (57%) women seeking an abortion, attended a clinic as part of her treatment journey.
Even with lockdown and the COVID-19 restrictions, more women are still attending an abortion clinic than those using the telemedicine option.
Each month, 3,100 women who first attend a clinic, choose to self-administer the second pill, misoprostol, at home. This means that there is an average of 10,700 women self-administering one or both of the abortion pills at home and self-managing the subsequent expulsion of their baby.
BPAS shows that it expects 3% of medical abortions to fail, to be incomplete, when gestational age is less than 9 weeks, rising to 7% in the ninth week. We should consider these failure rates to be the best-case, being when the woman’s eligibility for medical abortion has been professionally assessed in a clinic and when the abortion pills are correctly administered. When using remote telemedicine, the abortion provider is not able to be certain of the woman’s eligibility, her suitability, for medical abortion.
Based on these best-case failure rates, it is to be expected that each month, 350 women will experience an incomplete abortion at home, some of whom will still be pregnant, and some will have retained pregnancy tissue (baby and placenta). Each of these women will need further medical intervention in order to complete their abortion, to avoid potential harm from continued bleeding and infection.
- 7,600 telemedicine, DIY abortions per month.
- 3,100 self-administering misoprostol at home each month.
- A monthly average of 10,700 self-managed expulsions at home.
- An expected 350 failed, incomplete abortions at home every month.
- A total of 2,800 failed at-home DIY abortions since approval on March 30th.