Nav: Home

Online abortion service can offer alternative to unsafe methods to end pregnancy

May 16, 2017

Early medical abortion using online telemedicine can offer an alternative to unsafe methods to end a pregnancy for women in countries where access to safe abortion is restricted, finds a study published by The BMJ today.

The findings, based on reports from women living in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland where abortion laws are among the most restrictive in the world, show that rates of adverse events are low and that women are able to identify potentially serious complications and seek medical attention when advised.

The results provide the best real-world evidence to date about the effectiveness and harms of self sourced medical abortion through telemedicine in a population of women who otherwise do not have reliable access to abortion services.

About a quarter of the world's population lives in countries with highly restrictive abortion laws. Globally, each year an estimated 43,000 women die as a result of lack of access to safe legal abortion services through their countries' formal healthcare systems. Millions more have complications.

However, little is known about adverse events and outcomes for medical abortion provided through online clinics.

So a team of international 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.

Almost 95% reported successfully ending their pregnancy. Seven women (0.7%) reported receiving a blood transfusion and 26 (2.6%) reported receiving antibiotics. No deaths resulting from the intervention were reported by family, friends, the authorities, or the media.

Ninety three women (9.3%) reported experiencing any symptom for which they were advised to seek medical attention and, of these 87 (95%) sought attention. None of the five women who did not seek medical attention reported experiencing an adverse outcome.

The researchers highlight some study limitations that could have introduced bias and say their results might not be generalisable to all settings. However, key strengths include the large sample size and high follow-up rate.

"For the millions of women worldwide living in areas where access to abortion is restricted, the findings show the vital role played by self sourced medical abortion in providing an option with high effectiveness rates and few reported adverse outcomes," they conclude.

In a linked editorial, researchers in Canada say, while findings from self reported data must always be treated with some degree of caution, these "reassuring study data support growing calls for reform."

They point out that repeal of legal restrictions "would support the safest and most equitable abortion care for women in Irish jurisdictions.

Until then, for the first time in history, women of all social classes in a legally restricted yet high resource setting have equitable access to a reasonable alternative: medical abortion guided by physicians through telemedicine," they conclude.
-end-


BMJ

Related Pregnancy Articles:

Paracetamol during pregnancy can inhibit masculinity
Paracetamol during pregnancy can inhibit masculinity Paracetamol during pregnancy can inhibit the development of 'male behavior' in mice.
The cost of opioid use during pregnancy
A new study published today by the scientific journal Addiction reveals that the incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome -- often caused by mothers using opioids during pregnancy -- is increasing in the United States, and carries an enormous burden in terms of hospital days and costs.
New study: Pre-pregnancy BMI directly linked to excess pregnancy weight gain
It's well known that excessive weight gain during pregnancy can have a lasting negative impact on the health of a mother and her baby.
Pregnancy-specific β1-glycoproteins
Development of new strategies and novel drug design to treat trophoblastic diseases and to provide pregnancy success are of crucial importance in maintenance the female reproductive health.
Should hypothyroidism in pregnancy be treated?
When a woman becomes pregnant, many changes occur in her body.
More Pregnancy News and Pregnancy Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...