RCOG & FSRH on misoprostol at home for early medical abortion

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare statement on taking misoprostol at home, the second drug used to effect an early medical abortion.

In October 2017, the Chief Medical Officer and Health Secretary in Scotland recognised a woman’s home as a safe and acceptable place to take misoprostol.

In early 2018, the Welsh Government announced that it would be following Scotland’s lead. Today, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services in Wales has announced an agreement to allow misoprostol at home for medical abortion treatment.

“The RCOG and FSRH urge Jeremy Hunt to extend the same dignity that the Scottish and Welsh Governments have offered to women.”

In April 2018, the RCOG and FSRH signed a letter along with over twenty medical and women’s groups calling on the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to allow women in England to take misoprostol in a setting of their own choice. This letter, published in The Times, stated that this ‘simple measure..would significantly improve the well being of women’.

The use of misoprostol at home is safe and is endorsed by the World Health Organization.

Professor Lesley Regan, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “In England, women who have an early medical abortion are forced to return to the clinic to take misoprostol. The need for this second visit to the clinic frequently acts as a barrier to women accessing safe, regulated abortion care. Many women also experience the distress and embarrassment of bleeding and cramping pain during their journey home.

“The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare urge Jeremy Hunt to extend the same dignity that the Scottish and Welsh Governments have offered to women.”

Dr Asha Kasliwal, President of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), said: “Last November, following an extensive consultation with our membership, FSRH’s Council voted unanimously on a new position supporting abortion law reform in the UK. This includes support for use of abortion medication at home.

“Evidence suggests that misoprostol is safe, and allowing women to take it at home is a question of patient safety, as it would prevent women from having to deal with the effects of the medication on their way from a clinic. Women are already routinely prescribed this same medication to be taken at home when they suffer a miscarriage.”