Right To Life UK has called on the Government to reinstate in-person appointments before all abortions take place to ensure that the gestation of babies can be accurately assessed, following a woman appearing in court after being charged with procuring an abortion.
Yesterday morning, Bethany Cox, 22, appeared at Teesside Crown Court in Middlesbrough.
Cox denied taking a drug on July 6, 2020 with intent to destroy the life of a child that was capable of being born alive in the knowledge it would lead to the termination of the pregnancy.
Although the latest guidance from the British Association of Perinatal Medicine establishes 22 weeks’ gestation to be the point of viability, in legislation, a baby is considered to be capable of being born alive from 28 weeks gestation.
If the baby were beyond 28 weeks gestation when the abortion took place on July 6, 2020, the baby would have been at least 13 weeks gestation when the first lockdown was announced on March 23, 2020. Abortions for babies beyond 10 weeks gestation continued to be available from abortion providers throughout the lockdown.
The second alleged offence was administering a poison with intent to procure a miscarriage, between July 2 and July 7, 2020.
There has not been further information reported on the circumstances surrounding the case, although the information available indicates that she performed her own medical abortion using abortion pills.
After extensive lobbying from abortion providers, medical abortions using abortion pills were made available from abortion providers such as BPAS and MSI Reproductive Choices without an in-person appointment during the pandemic.
A seven-day trial has been scheduled to start on 15 January 2024.
This case follows a trial held earlier this year, where Carla Foster, 44, used the British Pregnancy Advisory Service’s (BPAS) ‘DIY’ abortion scheme to obtain abortion pills during lockdown when she was 32-34 weeks pregnant.
BPAS lobbied for in-person appointments to be removed despite evidence that this could result in late-term abortions taking place at home
In-person appointments had previously been required ahead of a medical abortion taking place, but BPAS successfully lobbied the Government to have them removed during the pandemic.
It then became clear that women were not accurately estimating their gestational age at home, along with a number of other safeguarding issues arising with at-home abortion schemes.
Medical professionals, 70% of respondents to a Government consultation and MPs, including Miriam Cates who specifically mentioned risks around inaccurate gestational estimates, called for a reinstatement of in-person appointments. The Government then decided to reinstate in-person appointments.
BPAS then joined prominent pro-abortion MPs to support an amendment to the Health and Care Bill that passed by a narrow margin of 27 votes to overturn the Government’s decision to reinstate these appointments.
Call to reinstate in-person appointments
Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said “While the full details of this case are not available yet, the language used in reporting on the case indicates that the abortion would have been a late-term abortion on a baby at 28 weeks gestation, if not older”.
“The second charge was administering a poison with intent to procure a miscarriage, which indicates that the abortion was likely undertaken using abortion pills.
“Medical abortions using abortion pills were made available from abortion providers such as BPAS and MSI Reproductive Choices without an in-person appointment during the pandemic.
“This appears to be yet another case that would not have happened had the gestation of the baby been accurately identified by ultrasound or a physical examination during an in-person appointment. If this appointment had taken place, the gestation of the baby would have been accurately identified and an abortion could not have taken place.”
“We are again calling for the reinstatement of in-person appointments before abortions take place to ensure that the gestation of babies can accurately be assessed”.