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64% increase in 999 calls, ambulance dispatches over abortion pill concerns, UK investigation finds

An investigation undertaken by GB News has revealed that ambulance dispatches and 999 calls dealing with concerns about abortion pills have soared by 64% since NHS abortion pills by post were legalised in Britain in 2019 – a measure enacted in response to Covid lockdowns.

The Commons was told since the change in the rules two years  ago, some 150,000 women have had abortions using the pills at home, which can be taken up to ten weeks of pregnancy.

However, the report from GB News also details how ambulance trusts are training staff on how to deal with call-outs where women have taken the pills beyond the ten week limit. In May 2020, shortly after the pills were introduced to be taken at home, a 28-week-old baby died  when his mother took the pills 18 weeks past the ten-week limit, and four weeks past the legal abortion limit in the UK, prompting a police investigation.

In June, government data revealed that 52 per cent of all abortions  in 2021 involved women taking abortion pills unsupervised. 2021 saw the highest ever number of abortions recorded in Britain.

The findings of the investigation come as the would-be temporary  abortion ‘pills-by-post’ scheme in the UK, under which women can be posted abortion pills without any face-to-face consultation, was made permanent in England and Wales on Tuesday through the amendment of the 1967 Abortion Act. This was despite repeated warnings over concerns for the safety of women and babies, voiced by pro-life activisits in recent months.

While abortion providers have repeatedly insisted the system  makes it easier for vulnerable women to have abortions, pro-life organisations and concerned members of the public have highlighted cases where the system has been abused, with women coerced into taking the pills by a partner, along  with the fact the pills can be accessed by abusive men or family members.

In June, one such case made headlines when a senior civil servant who was having an affair and spiked his mistress’s drink with an abortion pill was found guilty at Isleworth Crown Court.

Abortion pills – mifepristone and misoprostol – were made available  by post and without in-person consultation when Covid began in March 2020, a move which ended the requirement for women in crisis pregnancies to be seen and assessed in person. The decision to remove safeguards igngited huge controversy and muliple campaigns  from pro-life advocacy groups.

According to the NHS, abortion pills can trigger serious complications including severe haemorrhaging, damage to the womb and sepsis.

GB News contacted six ambulance trusts in England, issuing a  Freedom of Information Request to ask for statistics regarding the number of 999 calls and ambulance dispatches from people concerned about abortion pills since the scheme was brought in.

There were at least 380 call-outs in 2019, a figure which had increased by 64 per cent to 624 in 2020, with some of the six ambulance trusts seeing the number of calls and subsequent responses doubling.

The investigation details how London Ambulance Service saw the  number of call-outs increase from 93 in 2019 prior to the introduction of pills-by-post to 150 in 2020, representing an increase of 61 per cent. The ambulance dispatches rose even further in 2021, GB News reports.

The South West Ambulance Service, headquartered  in Exeter, Devon, saw the number of callouts leap from 33 in 2019 to 74 in 2020, an increase of 124 per cent once abortion pills were legalised. South East Coast Ambulance Service, which covers Kent, Surrey, West Sussex and East Sussex, recorded 287 calls  related to abortion pills in 2019 – which increased to 386 in 2020 – and rose even further in 2021.

All six ambulance trusts who responded recorded significant increases in the number of 999 calls from people worried after taking abortion pills.

In September 2021, Gript reported that there had been a worrying surge in the number of 999 calls from women taking abortion pills at home, according to ambulance chiefs in the UK. At the time of that investigation, the Life Institute said that the increase in 999 calls showed that the UK

Government, along with the abortion providers sending out the dangerous pills, had a “clear disregard” for the lives of women and babies, describing the pills by post regime as “reckless, callous and reprehensible”.

In a statement, The Life Institute said:

“The increase in 999 calls across the UK is deeply troublesome, but sadly unsurprising given the level of danger these lethal pills present to both unborn babies and their mothers. Women across the U.K. and at home here in Ireland deserve so much better than to be left in such  a shocking, cruel situation and without any proper medical help or supervision”.

In April, the HSE admitted that its own abortion pill system makes it difficult to spot when women are being coerced or abused.

The admission came in response to a parliamentary question put forward by Independent TD for Laois-Offaly, Carol Nolan last month. In response to Deputy Nolan’s question, the HSE claimed that telemedicine abortion (‘DIY home abortion through abortion pills taken without face-to-face consultation) had been a ‘success’, yet conceded that the system was open to being abused.

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