Study Finds Abortion Drugs Purchased on Internet Fail in 11 Percent of Cases

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 11, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Study Finds Abortion Drugs Purchased on Internet Fail in 11 Percent of Cases

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 11
, 2008

London, England ( — A new study in a prestigious British medical journal finds that women who purchase drugs from an Internet web site find the pills fail 11 percent of the time. In those cases, women who suffer from failed abortions must seek a surgical abortion or hospital care.

In those failures, women say the abortion was botched and, in many cases, they suffered from severe bleeding.

The study in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology surveyed women who use the web site Women on Web to purchase the mifepristone abortion drug.

While the web site, which caters to women in places like Ireland, Northern Ireland and Poland where abortions are illegal, promises the drug is effective up to nine weeks of pregnancy, women say different.

In addition to the high failure rate, the survey found 30 percent of women taking the abortion drugs said they had a negative abortion experience with depression and negative feelings accompanying the abortion.

The Women on Web Internet site features information in five languages and sells the combination mifepristone and misoprostol abortion drug for $110.

The site, run by abortion advocates, claims to help women "gain access to a safe abortion with pills in order to reduce the number of deaths due to unsafe abortions."

Josephine Quintavalle, the head of the British pro-life group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, says the web site does women a disservice.

"This is very worrying indeed. It’s like a cynical form of back-street abortion," she explained.

"This is very worrying indeed. It represents further trivialisation of the value of the unborn child. These drugs have side-effects and tragedies will increase," she told the BBC.

Martin Lupton, chairman of the ethics committee of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, also had concerns.

"The problem with termination services available without access to medical oversight is that we know that women often understate their gestation," he told BBC Radio 4. "The very people who may benefit from this service may have problems with literacy and may not understand their underlying medical conditions. They are putting themselves at risk in taking these tablets."

The web site requires women to answer a 25-question survey before purchasing the drug and advises them to have both a pregnancy test and an ultrasound.

The report comes on the heels of news of a British teenager becoming the fourteenth woman to die from using the abortion drug.

Manon Jones had an abortion in June 2005 and bled to death two weeks later, though news of her death only surfaced recently. Jones, an 18-year-old student from Wales, experienced heavy bleeding after the abortion, which was incomplete and left part of the unborn child’s body inside her.

Manon’s father, Dewi Jones, told an inquest that he was never informed about his daughter’s pregnancy or her decision to have an abortion until she checked into Southmead Hospital in Bristol with complications.

He said he would have tried to persuade her against having the abortion.

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