Drug Wrongly Used to Do Abortions Worldwide Should be Removed From WHO List

The World Health Organization (WHO) added Misoprostol to the essential medicine list (EML) in 2011 to be used in developing countries to prevent women from hemorrhaging after childbirth due to its low cost and easy storage capability.  However, the drug has been misused for abortion in countries where it is illegal.  Abortion advocates are not about to have Misoprostol removed from the EML and this exposes a very narrow agenda:  access to abortion first and health of the woman second. 


A group of researchers led by Professor Allyson Pollock from the Centre for Primary Care and Public Health at Barts and the London School of Medicine concluded that “current evidence to support the use of Misoprostol in home or community settings in low- and middle-income countries for the prevention of postpartum hemorrhage is, at best, inconclusive.”

Unfortunately Misoprostol was also identified by global abortion groups and is widely promoted as a method for women in less developed countries to obtain a medical abortion where abortion is not accessible or legal.  Within the International Consortium on Medical Abortion (ICMA) is a highly strategic effort to promote worldwide access to chemical abortion pills through education, regional training and advocacy campaigns – with an emphasis on Misoprostol for first trimester abortions. Placing Misoprostol on WHO’s EML core list allows it to be stockpiled in pharmacies and produced in dosages that can be more effectively used as an abortifacient.

In countries where abortion is illegal, ICMA recommends women take Misoprostol to start the abortion process and then go to a health clinic for further treatment, since post abortion care (PAC) is available in most countries where abortion is illegal.

Pollock said, “In countries where abortion is illegal or strongly controlled, there is widespread self-medicated use of misoprostol by women to terminate unwanted pregnancies. Misoprostol is also dangerous if used inappropriately for labour induction.”

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