Australia has had its first death of a woman using the abortion pill to terminate her pregnancy at home.  The Australian confirms that the woman died of sepsis “some days after” having the medical abortion at one of Marie Stopes International Australia’s (MSIA) 14 Australian clinics back in 2010. 

The Australian further reports that:

“In the six-month period to June 30 last year – the latest for which figures are available – the drug was given to an extra 5383 Australian women, a spike of 48 per cent. About 85,000 abortions a year are performed in Australia, mostly for women who choose not to continue pregnancy.”

The abortion pill is an alternative to surgery for women in the early weeks of pregnancy and is a combination of drugs which cause miscarriage.  The drug has killed dozens of women worldwide and injured more than 2,200 in the United States alone, according to the Food and Drug Administration April figures (very quietly released one might add). Through April, the FDA reports 2,207 adverse events related to the use of RU 486, including 14 deaths, 612 hospitalizations, 58 ectopic pregnancies, 339 blood transfusions, and 256 cases of infections in the United States alone. A European drug manufacturer has publicly stated that 28 women have died worldwide after using RU 486/mifepristone.  This is despite the World Health Organization (WHO) believing that mifepristone is an important treatment that should be made available to all women to rid themselves of unwanted pregnancy.

Are we putting women’s health at risk here?  It causes me concern that in the area of abortion and contraception normal medical rules seem to fly out the window.  Laws and guidelines are openly flouted or fudged over, almost in a pro-abortion and ‘right to choice’ fervor.  What other surgical operation is a girl allowed to have directly from school without informing her parents?  In every other area there are red tape and safety specifications galore.  However, in the case of abortion and contraception it is apparently, on balance, a risk worth taking that a girl become ill as a result of treatment – whether it be a pill or surgery her parents don’t know about. 

This is despite abortion being something that, on the whole, most doctors want no part in – pro-choice or not they don’t actually want to be the ones killing the babies.  Maybe the situation is like it is because it’s only the ‘fervourous’ ones who end up surrounding the administration of the procedure and calling the shots, and nobody else feels they want to say anything least they offend a woman’s right to choose and ‘have control over her own body’. 

It does make you wonder whether if we had a drug which had seriously injured people in another area of medicine we would continue to use it.  Especially because this is a situation where, in reality, there is not even a medical problem with the mother but simply a natural state of being. 

After practising law for the last four years, most recently as a junior barrister, Shannon Buckley has decided to complete the graduate diploma in secondary education this year to become...