January 18th, 2018
PIC welcomes results of recently released studies on RU-486, the “abortion pill,” showing it to be a safe, effective means of terminating pregnancy with little risk of complications.
Although RU-486 (mifegymiso), is considered the “gold standard” for inducing safe, effective medical abortions and is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, it has only recently been approved for use in Canada, and is not yet widely available. As it becomes more accessible nation-wide (BC is the sixth and latest province to announce plans to cover its approximate $300 cost), and as studies continue to confirm its safety and effectiveness, mifegymiso could become a game changer for women, especially those living in remote areas who cannot access surgical abortions.
The Guttmacher Institute, a leading reproductive health research organization, found that the number of abortion-related deaths in 2014 (the most recent findings available) ranged from 22,500 to 44,000. Worldwide, they estimate that unsafe abortions account for 8-18% of maternal deaths, and many result in medical, often lifetime, complications.
The latest studies took place in Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Peru — countries with some of the most restrictive laws on abortions, and where women would be unlikely to openly seek help if anything went wrong.
PIC agrees with researchers from the Peru study, who noted that until restrictive abortion laws are liberalized, giving women information about RU-486’s safety and effectiveness may be the best way to save lives.