New Zealand Woman Nearly Dies After Taking Abortion Drug RU 486

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 5, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Zealand Woman Nearly Dies After Taking Abortion Drug RU 486

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 5, 2004

Wellington, NZ ( — A New Zealand woman nearly died after using an abortion drug she bought off the Internet. The abortion is one of four reported over the last 18 months where women purchased the abortion pills online.

Medsafe, the Health Ministry’s drug monitoring agency, said the abortion drug mifepristone was being purchased online from Chinese sources.

Dr. Lesley Rothwell, who monitors abortion for the New Zealand government, says the woman was bleeding heavily and was rushed to a hospital after she began hemorrhaging.

"Her life was endangered — certainly it was potentially fatal," Rothwell told the Sunday Star Times. "She was admitted to hospital in an extremely distressed state. The hospital staff were also very distressed by it."

In New Zealand, it is illegal to import drugs that cannot be purchased over the counter without a prescription.

Rothwell said he was concerned that women are buying the abortion drug illegally because legal abortions are readily available there. He said some women may resort to buying the drugs because of language barriers or embarrassment about a pregnancy.

Rothwell also told the New Zealand newspaper that many of the women buying the drugs may be Chinese immigrants. He urged those taking people to New Zealand from Asia to encourage them not to buy the drugs online.

The New Zealand Health Ministry wants to clamp down on those who purchase drugs online that would normally require a doctor’s note to purchase in the Pacific island nation.

Currently, those purchasing such drugs online, like the abortion pill, face fines of $500. The New Zealand government wants to increase the fine to $10,000.

The abortion drug Mifepristone has been legal in New Zealand since 2001.

It has come under intense scrutiny in the last couple of years with three U.S. women dying following usage of the drug and one in Sweden.