Self-Sourced Abortion Deemed Safe in Irish Study

So a team of global researchers led by Abigail Aiken at the University of Texas at Austin, analysed self reported outcome data submitted to a telemedicine clinic by 1,000 women four weeks after receiving and using the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol to end an early pregnancy. Overall, almost 95 percent of women studied reported successful results with the medication, and few reported adverse side effects such as the need for antibiotics, surgical intervention or blood transfusions.

"This is abortion entirely outside the formal healthcare setting: it is an online telemedicine model, but this research shows that it can be both safe and highly effective", said Abigail Aiken, assistant professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

The non-profit organization, based in the Netherlands, provides women with advice and abortion pills across 140 countries with restrictive abortion laws.

Aiken: While there are certainly cultural and demographic differences between the U.S. and Ireland, the options available to women seeking abortion in the two countries are very similar.

For the new research published online Tuesday in the British journal, The BMJ, Women on Web provided the data and the patient feedback for the study.

A study into women who seek abortion pills online in the face of strict laws against terminations has found that nearly 95% safely ended their pregnancy without surgical intervention.

95% women managed to successfully do an abortion at home, in the early stage of the pregnancy. A small number of them reported needing either blood transfusion or antibiotics. Results have important implications for women worldwide living in areas where access to abortion is restricted.' they reported.

However, recent developments have been made thanks to the Citizens' Assembly and the work of the Repeal Project, with calls for the 8th Amendment which prohibit abortion to be changed or abolished.

'In the United Kingdom for example women ingest the first pill at an abortion clinic, but then go home to have their abortion'.

The home abortion pill Mifegymiso first became available in Canada in January.

Women living in countries with strict anti-abortion laws have long turned to unsafe methods to end their pregnancies, but the internet has slowly changed the nature of "back-alley" abortions by making the abortion pill available to women worldwide. A doctor checks the form for any contraindications, and then medical abortion medications (mifepristone and misoprostol) are provided by mail. Among those women who did respond, more than 9 percent reported symptoms and care-seeking for potentially serious complications, such as bleeding, fever, and persistent pain. "Women in these countries often resort to unsafe methods to end their pregnancies", the Irish researchers write.

Women on Web says that in most countries, it is not illegal for women to receive medication at their home address.

Aiken and Princeton University researcher James Trussell over three years studied 1,000 women who sought an abortion through Women on Web.

"Reported rates of adverse events are low". Approximately, a quarter of the world's population resides in nations that have extremely strict abortion laws.

"We already know that medical abortion with mifepristone is one of the safest options and that it is highly effective".

  • Santos West