Friday, 11 Jul, 2008 Health & Fitness
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Women Use the Web to Have Abortions

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Women Use the Web to Have AbortionsSome women, who live in countries where laws heavily restrict abortions, apply to the Internet in order to purchase medications that allow aborting pregnancy at home. Women from more than 70 countries that restrict abortions, including Northern Ireland, used a website called Women on Web, as the main source to obtain the necessary medications.

The British Journal of Obstetrics and Gyneacology performed a review of 400 customers who used the medication. The review found that about 11 percent required surgical procedure after taking the medicine that allows performing abortion in home conditions.

The website Women on Web says that it may help in reducing the issues related to unsafe abortions. People who act against abortion called the development of the websites such as Women of Web "very worrying indeed".

According to the research, about 8 percent of women who used the website did not use the medication they purchased. About 11 percent required surgical procedure due to two main reasons: the drugs did not complete the abortion or because of too much bleeding.

Two hundred women responded to the questions regarding their experiences: 58 percent mentioned that they highly welcomed the possibility to have an abortion at home and 31 percent said that they had felt stressed but nevertheless found such experience quite satisfactory.

The website Women on Web says that it offers the drugs only to women that are less than 9 weeks pregnant and that are living in countries where abortion is highly restricted. While being in Thailand, a woman from the United States, who has a rare medical complication when pregnancy may threaten her life, spoke about her experience after using Women on Web.

"Women on Web kept in contact with me via e-mail. The medication arrived through Customs, properly blister-packed, with complete paperwork and a doctor's signature. Medication from other websites came in unmarked bottles with no instructions or paperwork - it was quite frightening. I was not very far along - only three or four weeks. It went smoothly for me. I think it's very important women have this resource to turn to in that situation - and they can need it for a number of reasons."

The Family Planning Association, an organization based in Northern Ireland, has received a number of calls from women, who decided to buy abortion pills online. The FPA's representatives said that on two occasions women acquired drugs without any medical information, which led to complications and a need of aftercare.

"The Women On Web site is very helpful and reputable. But for Northern Ireland women, it is encouraging them to break the law - and as an organization, we have to work within the law. We're really concerned about women accessing the rogue sites - we're hearing about it and we know it's happening. There are potentially serious medical complications for women from sites which aren't well managed and this could be the new era of backstreet abortions," said Audrey Simpson, the director of Northern Ireland FPA.

The anti-abortion campaigners stated that they were shocked by the existence of such websites.

"This is very worrying indeed. It represents further trivialization of the value of the unborn child. It's like taking abortion into the shadows. These drugs have side-effects and tragedies will increase," said Josephine Quintavalle, a member of the group Comment on Reproductive Ethics.

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