DIY abortions spark law reform calls
CLAIMS that women are illegally procuring drugs to terminate their own pregnancies have sparked renewed calls for abortion law reform.
According to media reports, Queensland obstetricians Dr Caroline de Costa and Dr Adrienne Freeman – both of whom are licensed to conduct medical abortions – have become aware of patients obtaining misoprostol or RU486 to induce an abortion.
The reports follow the high-profile case of a 19-year-old Cairns woman who has been charged with procuring her own miscarriage, after she allegedly procured and took misoprostol.
The case prompted Dr de Costa to cease offering medical abortions to her patients, and to urge other medical professionals to do the same.
Dr Ted Weaver, president of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said the reports were concerning.
“We are concerned about the risks associated with these practices,” Dr Weaver told MO. “There are problems in ensuring the abortion is complete, there are risks of bleeding, there are risks of infection.”
The reports merely underlined the need for all states and territories to reform abortion law, he said.
“The college believes such services should be provided safely to patients. We don’t believe they should have to resort to this backyard approach.”