AN MS has said regulations that enable women to receive an abortion at home during lockdown are putting lives at risk.

Abortion regulations introduced as a temporary measure by the Welsh Government in March last year enabled abortion providers to deliver mifepristone and misoprostal pills to patients following a telephone consultation so that treatment could be carried out at home.

Prior to the pandemic government policy was that only the second pill, misoprostal, could be taken at home and that women should attend an abortion service to take the first pill.

The prescription of both pills from home instead of at a hospital or clinic was aimed at avoiding social contact and the unnecessary risk of exposure to coronavirus.

A Freedom of Information request submitted by Darren Millar, MS for Clwyd West revealed a 100 per cent increase in ambulance call-outs to people taking the medication since the regulations came into force.

The Welsh Government is currently consulting on making the changes permanent.

Darren Millar, MS for Clwyd West, called for further information to be published on the impact of people taking abortion medications before a decision is made.

"Last year, there was a doubling of the numbers of call-outs to 999 for the ambulance service and a doubling of the number of ambulances that had to be despatched to women who had taken abortion medication at home," said Mr Millar during the Senedd Business Statement on Monday.

“ I am very concerned about the increased call-outs to the ambulance service, the lack of medical supervision that these women experience and the fact that there are no safeguards to ensure that these women are not being coerced by controlling and abusive partners into taking these pills.”

Speaking later, he said: “From the moment these changes were first introduced, I warned it was a bad move and would put women at risk. For the Welsh Government to even be considering making them permanent is both shocking and irresponsible.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said the measures were put in place alongside other UK nations and its consultation responses will be reviewed in the coming weeks.

“Alongside other UK nations we introduced these temporary measures," the spokesperson said. "They have been developed and supported by clinicians, to improve safety during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The service is provided via teleconference and clinicians must arrange for a woman to attend clinic if there’s any concern about the accuracy of the gestation stage.

“Clinicians operating the service are content that the current temporary measures are safe for women who use them. Safeguarding is also an essential part of the assessment for abortion care, and providers assess each case on an individual basis.

"The telephone consultation provides women with a reliable confidential point of care and follow-up appointments have confirmed that women are comfortable accessing the service.

“Wales alongside England and Scotland have recently consulted on the temporary measures. We will now look at the responses to our consultation to inform future decisions.”