A survey released on Thursday found that the vast majority of women who used abortion medicines to terminate undesired pregnancies were able to do it without the assistance of a medical professional.
264 pregnant women between nine and sixteen weeks of gestation in Argentina, Nigeria, and an unspecified Southeast Asian nation where abortion is outlawed participated in the research. Nearly half of the women just used misoprostol, rather than the recommended combination of mifepristone and misoprostol, to induce an abortion.
According to the research, which was published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynaecology, these women were still able to successfully terminate their pregnancies. A pro-abortion advocacy organisation provided all of the participants with resources and information.
One of the study’s authors, Ruvani Jayaweera, an epidemiologist and research scientist at Ibis Reproductive Health, noted that the results corroborate clinical evidence demonstrating the effectiveness and safety of medication abortions done under medical care throughout pregnancy.
One-quarter of the women sought medical attention following their abortions, usually to make sure the procedure was successful. Fewer people sought help for worries about blood loss, discomfort, fever, or discharge.
Medical attention after a pharmaceutical abortion was substantially more common among women who were 12 weeks pregnant or more, compared to those who were 9-11 weeks pregnant.
Women facing unplanned pregnancies are increasingly turning to self-administered pharmaceutical abortions as more than a dozen states have prohibited abortion in the previous year.
However, due to the lengthy processes involved in obtaining the medications, they sometimes arrive too late to prevent further development of the pregnancy. Researchers say the new study provides some consolation to women in this situation since it is one of the first to report on self-managed medication abortions performed beyond the first trimester of pregnancy.
If availability to mifepristone is severely restricted, the findings presents an alternate route to pharmaceutical abortion. While the lawsuit makes its way through the courts, the Supreme Court in April overturned a lower court order that would have halted the distribution and sale of mifepristone throughout the United States.
About 44% of research participants relied only on misoprostol, a drug that is widely used and legally accessible without a doctor’s prescription in many countries.
Ninety percent of the women in the research were able to successfully terminate their pregnancies using self-managed medication abortions. Only 5% of those who attempted abortions ended up having the operation done to finish the process.
Under medical supervision, the FDA has only approved the use of the combination of mifepristone and misoprostol for termination of pregnancy up to 10 weeks.
However, the World Health Organisation supports self-managed medical abortions in pregnancies up to 12 weeks without medical supervision because of a lack of health care professionals in many parts of the poor world.
Although the latest paper was a sub-analysis of a broader study, it found that only a tiny percentage of the 1,352 women who had self-managed abortions had more advanced pregnancies.
Only three women in the study self-managed abortions at 17 weeks or later, and the authors urged more investigation of the link between pharmaceutical abortion and subsequent pregnancies.
The availability of the abortion pills, which are often obtained via mail order, is a contentious issue in the continuing discussion over abortion in the United States.