Abortion pills bought online can provide a ‘safe and effective’ outcome for women who wish to have a non-surgical termination, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal.
The study was carried out by a team at the University of Texas who, along with online group Women on Web, analysed data from over 1,000 women in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland who had sought to terminate unwanted pregnancies through the use of abortion pills.
After seeking follow-up information from over 1,000 women in Ireland, researchers determined that 95 per cent of those who took these abortion pills had the desired result.
Each of these women had previously purchased abortion pills online through WoW, and reported back on their experiences.
78 per cent were under seven weeks pregnant, while the remaining 22 per cent were seven to nine weeks pregnant.
According to the study, 'self-sourced medical abortion provides a vital alternative to dangerous methods such as using sharp objects or noxious substance.'
93 women out of the 1,000 surveyed experienced symptoms which required them to seek medical attention, and 87 of these women actually did seek medical attention after taking the pills.
'No deaths…were reported by family, friends, the authorities of the media,' the study authors wrote in the British Medical Journal report.
The purchase and import of abortion pills is currently illegal in the Republic of Ireland, as well as in Northern Ireland.
However, recent developments have been made thanks to the Citizens' Assembly and the work of the Repeal Project, with calls for the 8th Amendment which prohibit abortion to be changed or abolished.
'Often media reports in Ireland imply early medical abortion with pills is unsafe – this study shows that that simply isn’t the case,' said Abortion Rights Campaign spokesperson Linda Kavanagh in a statement.
'In countries where medical abortion is legal, women are largely unsupervised while taking the pill.'
'In the UK for example women ingest the first pill at an abortion clinic, but then go home to have their abortion.'
'Our governments continue to shirk their responsibility to women despite having a clear mandate to introduce proper abortion access North and South, following the results of the Citizens’ Assembly and various reports by human rights watchdogs,' she continued.
'Our politicians are happy to outsource their responsibility to other countries and organisations that provide the abortion pill illegally.'
'Our current laws are irresponsible, cowardly and lazy. If the physical and mental health of women on this island is being put at risk, it is the fault of our legislators – and not these pills which have been used safely, in both supervised and unsupervised contexts for almost 30 years,' she concluded.