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Coronavirus: Christian group challenges changes to abortion laws during pandemic | UK News



A Christian group is taking the government to the High Court over its decision to allow women unable to access a clinic to take abortion pills at home during the coronavirus outbreak.

Christian Concern says the temporary change to UK abortion policy is unlawful and “unsafe for pregnant women”.

It is bringing legal action against the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) after ministers ruled women can have medical abortions at home up to 10 weeks into pregnancy, providing they have had a phone or video consultation with a doctor.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock arrives at Downing Street, London. PA Photo. Picture date: Wednesday April 15, 2020. Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in Chequers, Buckinghamshire, where he is convalescing following his hospitalisation with coronavirus. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
Health Secretary Matt Hancock previously said there were ‘no proposals’ to change abortion rules

The change in abortion rules is limited for two years or until the coronavirus crisis is over.

The case will be heard by two senior judges in London today.

Speaking ahead of the hearing, the faith group’s chief executive Andrea Williams said: “The UK government is going to extraordinary lengths to protect lives due to the threat of COVID-19.

“It appears to fail to see the irony in opening up access to abortion and counting the lives that will be lost as a result of such action.

“If this practice goes unchallenged there will be no going back and that is tragic for women and their children.”

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Abortions can take place in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy in England, Scotland and Wales at a clinic or hospital.

Women ending a pregnancy in its first 10 weeks have to take two pills 24 to 48 hours apart.

In 2018, England followed Scotland and Wales by allowing the second pill to be taken at home in some cases.

Christian Concern revealed it would be pursuing legal action last month after a double government U-turn over abortion rules during the coronavirus crisis.

Ministers originally said doctors would be allowed to prescribe abortion pills from home, but hours later said the changes had been “published in error”.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock clarified abortion policy would stay the same during the outbreak – days before it changed again to say medical abortions would be permitted at home in the circumstances.

Sky News has contacted DHSC for comment.

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