“It will stay with me forever”

With ‘do-it-yourself’ home abortions now accounting for more than half of all abortions in England and Wales, women continue to tell disturbing stories about what it’s really like to have an abortion without any medical supervision .

The Mail tells the story of two women, Emily Price and Katherine Telby, who have both had ‘home-made’ abortions since they were introduced in March 2020.

After Emily, 23, a public relations officer from Swindon, became pregnant and decided she wanted an abortion, she contacted the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), the largest abortion provider in the UK. After a forty minute phone appointment with a nurse, Emily received the abortion pills. Emily said:

“It’s a little worrying that I didn’t have to prove I was pregnant. I could have gotten pills for someone else and they wouldn’t have access to their medical information.”

“I was sweating but my body was frozen. I was crying.”

The abortion pills arrived in the mail two days later and Emily took them shortly after, when her baby was almost seven weeks old.

The first pill made her tired. After the second round of medication 24 hours later, she started bleeding within 15 minutes. After an hour, Emily said the menstrual-type cramps turned into pain so bad she was double-crossed in the bathroom.

“I was sweating but my body was frozen. I was crying,” said Emily, who felt the urge to push three and a half hours after taking the second pill, and felt a “massive clump” come out.

She told the Daily Mail that the abortion was much more painful than she imagined and wished she had gone to a clinic.

“Being in an environment with medical professionals would have calmed me down.”

“The nurse told me I might feel a little pain, but some women find it more difficult than others and some have had more severe periods,” Emily said.

A few hours after taking the second pill, she was bent over the toilet, vomiting into a bucket and screaming in pain. “I have a high pain tolerance. I have broken bones and suffer from chronic migraines, but I have never felt such pain. I was terrified”.

“People need to be aware that this is not an easy way out. It will stay with me forever,” she says.

“I could have lied and been 20 weeks pregnant”

Katherine Telby has also had an abortion since the government allowed “do-it-yourself” home abortions without medical supervision. She says that although she would have liked to keep her baby, her boyfriend did not support her.

“My boyfriend said it was not the right time. My heart told me I had to keep the baby, but I didn’t want to do it alone and I was afraid that this pregnancy would also end in miscarriage,” Katherine said.

She spoke with BPAS on the phone before they sent her the abortion pills. “I wanted to end the conversation and be done with it. There was no verification. I could have lied and been 20 weeks pregnant”.

However, before the abortion pills arrived, Katherine began to question her decision and tried to get an appointment with MSI Reproductive Choices (another abortion provider) to discuss her emotions.

“The clinic was impossible to reach. I tried for five days but was put on hold for about an hour each time. When a nurse called she was lovely but said they could only offer me the procedure in Manchester which as a single mum I would have struggled to get to,” Katherine said.

“I was writhing in agony. I had horrible cramps for five hours”

Katherine finally took the abortion pills. She said: “I thought a home abortion would be less traumatic. But at least in the hospital, under anesthesia, I was no longer in pain. It was still awful. I was writhing in agony. I had horrible cramps for five hours”.

She adds that if she had had face-to-face counseling, she thinks she would have decided to have the baby.

“If I had been advised in a clinic, I think I would have decided to continue the pregnancy”.

Home abortions “homemade” without any clinical supervision accounted for 52% of all abortions in 2021. A study suggested that between April 2020 and September 2021, more than 10,000 women had to be hospitalized following the use of pills medical abortion in England alone.

Specialists have argued that since the introduction of ‘homemade’ abortions, which allow abortion to take place entirely outside of a clinical setting, ‘the evidence has only been mounting against it’ .

Dr Calum Miller, an NHS doctor and research associate at the University of Oxford, said face-to-face consultations are an “essential safeguard against forced abortion, life-threatening ruptured ectopic pregnancies danger and a litany of other possible risks”.

“What may have seemed convenient for abortion providers was the devastating loss of a lifeline for victims of abuse and trafficking who desperately need to speak to someone privately. Abortion clinics are one of the public sites most visited by victims of sex trafficking. Sending these women – or their pimps – abortion pills in the mail only keeps this horrible practice in the shadows, far from being detected. And it potentially subjects them to forced abortion, an appalling violation of human rights that often leaves lifelong trauma.”

Right To Life UK spokeswoman Catherine Robinson said: “These stories not only highlight the tragedy of abortion, but also the role of cowardly men who refuse to take responsibility for children they father, as well as on abortion providers who promote access to abortion at all costs, regardless of the danger it represents for women”.

“Every abortion is wrong, and ‘homemade’ abortions reveal the truly ruthless nature of an industry that refuses to provide even basic medical supervision to women believed to be in its care.”

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