Taking abortion pill at home as safe as in a clinic

Amos Gonzales
May 17, 2017

After seeking follow-up information from over 1,000 women in Ireland, researchers determined that 95 per cent of those who took these abortion pills had the desired result. But others say that women should never be left alone to carry out the procedure.

By law, those in the United Kingdom can only have an abortion at a clinic in the presence of a doctor or a specialist nurse, and only after two doctors have given consent.

However, the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act means that women can face life imprisonment for administering a drug to induce miscarriage, as the 1967 Abortion Act was not adopted in Northern Ireland.

The prosecution of women who seek medical help due to complications after an abortion could have a chilling effect on the use of safe and efficient methods such as mifepristone and misoprostol, which could see a return to more risky methods of self-induced abortion, Aiken said. "However safe and effective online services can be for women in countries where abortion is illegal, ultimately what women need is a legal, local service".

The report from the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that taking abortion pills while being supervised online by a doctor in another jurisdiction "can offer an alternative to unsafe methods to end a pregnancy for women in countries where access to safe abortion is restricted".

Taking abortion pills without medical approval is illegal in the United Kingdom, but women in Great Britain can legally have an abortion at a registered clinic in the presence of a doctor and nurse, after getting written consent from two doctors.

The research tracked 1,000 women in Ireland and Northern Ireland, who used a website to get abortion pills by mail and get around strict abortion laws.

In a draft manifesto leaked last week, the party said it would "continue to ensure a woman's right to choose a safe, legal abortion - and we will legislate to extend that right to women in Northern Ireland".

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Abortion laws in Ireland and Northern Ireland are among the most restrictive in the world, with abortion criminalized in most circumstances.

"It is also likely that most complications were captured as this online telemedicine service was probably the only safe outlet for women needing to discuss symptoms of suspected complication", two Canadian researchers write in a linked editorial. These women received 1,200 μg misoprostol and 200 mg mifepristone after filling out an online consultation form.

The data was taken from a study conducted by Women on Web (WoW), a non-profit organisation that provides early medical abortion through online telemedicine in countries where access to safe abortion is restricted.

Some 781 were under seven weeks pregnant and 219 were between seven and nine weeks pregnant.

The researchers in the latest study acknowledged its limitations because the women self-reported, and this could introduce bias.

'Abortion pills do not provide support to her, they only end the life of her unborn child'. Seven women (0.7%) reported receiving a blood transfusion and 26 (2.6%) reported receiving antibiotics. Many women send hundreds of euros to providers to receive either no pills or paracetamol, Clarke said.

Another anti-abortion group said it was concerned that the study was based on "self-reported outcomes of self-sourced and self-managed medical abortions".

Other reports by BadHub

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