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Thousands of women had abortions while ‘struggling to access contraception during Covid crisis’

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Thousands of women have had abortions after falling pregnant while having difficulties accessing contraception during the pandemic, healthcare providers have warned.

Sexual health clinics have been forced to shut or run reduced services while staff are transferred to work with Covid patients or have to self-isolate – with the profound disruption leaving many women unable to access their usual methods of contraception.

Many women are struggling to get the most effective long-acting contraceptive choices of a coil or an implant due to these requiring face-to-face appointments which have largely been suspended as consultations are carried out remotely via phone or video call to curb the spread of COVID-19.

British Pregnancy Advisory Service, the UK's largest abortion provider, told The Independent they provided the progestogen-only contraceptive pill to almost 10,000 women undergoing an abortion between May and October last year.

Katherine O’Brien, a spokesperson for the service, said: “Many of these women will have fallen pregnant after struggling to access contraception, so there really is a huge unmet need for contraceptive services which will only worsen as lockdown and Covid continues.

“We routinely hear from women during the pandemic who simply can’t access their regular method of contraception because of clinics closing or staff being deployed elsewhere or staff self-isolating.”

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Source: The Independent, 9 January 2021

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