Online abortion service is safe and effective

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An online abortion service can offer an alternative to unsafe methods of pregnancy termination for women in countries where access to safe abortion is restricted. This is the conclusion of a new study published in the BMJ. The study found that women who acquired medical abortion pills through the international non-profit Women on Web (WoW) site reported high rates of successful terminations with low rates of adverse effects.

The findings are based on self-reported outcomes from 1,000 women in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Abortion laws in Ireland are among the most restrictive in the world, with abortion classified as a crime in most circumstances.

The data showed that 95 per cent of abortions were successful. Less than 1 per cent of the women required a blood transfusion, and 3 per cent received antibiotics. Women were able to identify symptoms of potentially serious complications, and almost all sought medical attention when advised.

"Irish and Northern Irish people who access or help others to access this pathway are choosing an option that has similar effectiveness rates to medication abortion performed in a clinic and has lower rates of complications than continuing a pregnancy to delivery," said lead author Abigail Aiken.