The Court of Appeal has ruled against a challenge over government changes to abortion rules made during the coronavirus pandemic.
Christian Concern pursued action against the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) over its change to the regulations, allowing women to have medical abortions at home following a phone or video consultation.
The group took its case to the Court of Appeal after losing a High Court bid in May to bring a claim over the government’s decision.
Christian Concern argues that the government’s decision went beyond the powers available to it under the 1967 Abortion Act and claims that allowing women to have terminations at home goes against the purpose of the Act, which was to prevent “backstreet” abortions.
At a hearing in July, Michael Phillips, representing Christian Concern, told three senior judges that the change in rules “is one of the most significant amendments in the last 50 years of abortion law”.
He added that it has “serious and life-changing consequences for the women involved” as well as for medical professionals and staff working at abortion clinics.
The government opposed the challenge and said the decision to change the rules fell within its “scope and power”.
The case centred on a decision by the government in March to allow women to take both drugs needed for an early medical abortion at home.
Under previous rules, only the second drug could be taken at home, with the first administered at a hospital or clinic following an appointment with a doctor.
Christian Concern announced plans to pursue legal action in April, after a double U-turn by the DHSC over abortion rules during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Ministers initially said women and girls would be allowed to take abortion pills at home, and doctors to prescribe from their homes during the pandemic.
Hours later, the statement was removed from the department’s website, with officials saying it was “published in error”.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs that abortion rules would not be changed as part of the response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
But, days later, the policy changed again, with the department saying those needing an abortion up to 10 weeks can use abortion pills at home after a consultation with a medical practitioner over the phone or on the internet.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.