Sunday, June 28, 2015

Media Use and Abortion


Illegal Abortion Instructions Via Cell Phone

Editor’s note. The following comes from PNCI, the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues.
pills55Increasingly, organizations providing and promoting abortion deem national laws prohibiting abortion as irrelevant in their work advising women on how to perform illegal ‘do-it-yourself (DIY) abortion’. The latest example comes from the NGO Ipas and its partners working to use “mobile technology to expand women’s access to safe, comprehensive abortion care”, including in three countries where abortion is restricted-Bangladesh, Kenya and Nigeria. The information was shared during a recent youth and technology conference in San Francisco.

Referring to the total global deaths attributed to ‘unsafe abortion’- 47,000 women- Ipas explains that the “vast majority of these deaths are in the global south, where the use of cell phones and other mobile devices is growing rapidly, including in rural communities.” (PNCI notes that access to any type of health care in the region remains limited creating an especially dangerous situation for women who are enticed to self-abort with abortion inducing drugs that can lead to severe blood loss.)
Ipas emphasized its work using mobile phone technology, called “mHealth,” including promoting abortion pills in three countries that restrict abortion explaining:
“As the use of mobile technology to deliver health information and services grows at a lightening pace, Ipas has implemented mobile health (or “mHealth”) projects in four countries-South Africa, Bangladesh, Kenya and Nigeria-and is supporting researchers and community-based organizations with the development of new mHealth projects in several others. Many abortion-related mHealth projects focus on improving young women’s access to abortion care.”

“One unique opportunity for mobile technology centers on expanding women’s access to medical abortion-abortion with the use of pills-at the community level. For example, a crucial question about medical abortion outside the formal health system is whether women can accurately assess their own eligibility for medical abortion.”

Abortion ‘outside the formal health system’ means illegal abortion and ‘assess their own eligibility for medical abortion’ means that Ipas is seeking to have a woman self-determine the gestational age of her baby and whether or not she can ‘safely’ use abortion pills.
In discussing the promotion of illegal abortion in Indonesia by a local NGO which is implementing text messaging and a mobile application for instruction on performing illegal abortion, Ipas acknowledged that “Abortion is highly restricted in Indonesia… is legally permitted only to save the life of the woman and in cases of fetal impairment and rape. Spousal authorization is required, and unmarried women often are restricted from accessing abortion services.”
The founder of this NGO in Indonesia currently runs a hotline for illegal abortion and stated, “…medical abortion has had a ‘revolutionary impact’ on women because it gives them the opportunity to have control over the abortion process while in the privacy of their home or whatever setting they choose.”

WHO Action Likely to Increase Availability of Abortion Drug
The drug misoprostol has received approval by the World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on the Selection and Use of Essential Medicines for inclusion in the Model List of Essential Medicines (EML) for the additional indication of treating post-partum haemorrhage (PPH) on the community level. It is already listed for preventing PPH and along with mifepristone for induced abortion.

Misoprostol is a powerful drug that can save the lives of mothers but when misused, it can end the lives of their children. It is the drug that is most often recommended for illegal DIY [Do It Yourself] abortion when RU 486 is not available.

Pro-abortion organizations have long sought inclusion of misoprostol alone, for community level use, on the EML in order to increase its availability in countries with pro-life laws which refuse to register the abortion drug mifepristone. Gynuity is the organization which led the effort to secure inclusion on the EML and filed the application with support from numerous NGOs and groups, including the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Population, Development, and Reproductive Health.
Gynuity tracks countries’ registration of misoprostol alone and
mifepristone but in its application to the EML Committee, Gynuity choose to ignore its work to instruct women in DIY abortion with misoprostol or mention its publication: “Abortion with Self-Administered Misoprostol: A Guide For Women.” The guide includes an explanation as to why it promotes abortion via misoprostol:

“Because mifepristone is a registered abortion drug, its sale and use are not permitted in most countries with restrictive abortion laws. In contrast, misoprostol is an anti-ulcer medication that is registered under various trade names in more than 85 countries. Research has found that misoprostol used alone is about 85 percent successful in inducing abortion when used as recommended. Although less effective alone than when combined with mifepristone, misoprostol offers a safe and accessible alternative for women who have no other option.”
The website of the 20th Expert Committee on the Selection and Use of Essential Medicines has additional information and links to all the statements and supporting information.

Source: NRLC News

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