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Abortion Drugs Can Be Taken at Home, U.K. Charity Tells Court

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service, the U.K.’s largest abortion provider, asked a London judge to modify the interpretation of a 1967 law to allow women to take drugs to terminate pregnancies at home.

The charity is asking the High Court to rule that women seeking “early medical abortions” during the first nine weeks of their pregnancy should be allowed to take the second of the two drugs that cause the miscarriage at home.

More than 70,000 women had early medical abortions in the U.K. in 2009, according to the BPAS’s website.

The procedure involves the patient taking two drugs 24 to 48 hours apart. In the U.K., the woman must go to a clinic for each dose and take it on the premises. In the U.S., France and Sweden women are given both drugs on their first visit with instructions for their use, the website said.

Natalie Lieven, lawyer for BPAS said at the hearing today that “medical science has moved a long way” since the 1967 Abortion Act, which stipulates that all “treatment for the termination of pregnancy” must take place in a hospital or clinic.

As the process is now no more than the administration of two pills, once a doctor has prescribed the drugs “his role is over and the treatment is finished,” she said.

Ann Furedi, the chief executive of BPAS said in a statement on the website that “a small, sensible change to the interpretation of the law would mean a huge difference for women’s experience.”

To contact the reporter on this story: James Lumley in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at

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