Abortion pills bought online can provide a ‘safe and effective’ outcome for women who seek to terminate a pregnancy, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal.
The study was carried out by a team at the University of Texas who, along with online group Women on Web (WoW), analysed data from over 1,000 women in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Each of these women had previously purchased abortion pills online through WoW, and reported back on their experiences through a questionnaire.
Each of the women were sent the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol between the period from January 2010 and December 2012. The majority of women were under seven weeks pregnant, while the remainder were seven to nine weeks pregnant.
At the end of the study, the researchers determined that 95 per cent of those who took these abortion pills successfully terminated their pregnancies.
They also reported back that:
- Seven women received a blood transfusion
- 26 women received antibiotics
- 93 women experienced symptoms which required them to seek medical attention; 87 of these actually did seek medical attention
“No deaths…were reported by family, friends, the authorities of the media,” the study authors wrote, in the British Medical Journal report.
Commenting on the findings, they added: “Reported rates of adverse events are low. Women are able to self-identify the symptoms of potentially serious complications, and most report seeking medical attention when advised.
“Results have important implications for women worldwide living in areas where access to abortion is restricted.”
Study authors conceded that the nature of the study, whereby the women were self-reporting their results and experiences, may have introduced bias to the research.
The release of the research is particularly timely, in light of the current calls for a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment of the Constitution; effectively placing a legal ban on abortion. The purchase and importation of abortion pills is also illegal in the Republic of Ireland, as well as in Northern Ireland.
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