Abortions at Home? With Doctor Supervision, Yes

Why do we need to see a
doctor to swallow a pill?


Recent articles in the New
York Times have focused on women self-inducing abortion using misoprostol. 
The safe use of medication abortion by women raises the larger issue
of how the approved use of mifepristone/misoprostol now available at
many clinics could be simplified to increase women’s access to abortion
in the U.S. 

In 1988 mifepristone/misoprostol
for abortion before 9 weeks was approved in France and China, and by
2002 was approved in 29 additional countries. This combination of medications
allows women to induce a miscarriage rather than have a suction procedure
with a physician (Nine more countries approved the drugs for early
abortion between 2002 and 2008). The promise of medical abortion
was increased access for women, because there would be less need for
a physician who had the hard-to-obtain training in suction abortion. 
However, in most countries women are required to visit a clinic or doctor’s
office to take the first dose of the medication regimen, and return
for a follow up visit to confirm that the abortion was complete. 

As early as 2002, well-respected
researchers were questioning the over-medicalization of the procedure,
citing evidence that most women can safely and effectively handle the
medical abortion process themselves, effectively and safely. 
In countries with legal access to abortion, these researchers speculated
that putting the medication into women’s hands would allow greater
control, comfort, and convenience as well as a lower over-all cost for
the procedure. 

Since 2006, Women on Web (WoW)
has put this theory into action.  Through an Internet helpline
which is staffed 18 hours a day, seven days a week, in six languages,
WoW arranges for women to complete an online consultation which is reviewed
by a physician.  If there are no counterindications and the woman
is within the gestational age that a medication abortion can be effective,
the physician arranges with a consultant to ship 200 mg. of mifepristone
and 600 mcg of misoprostol.  Throughout the abortion process, women
have Internet access to skilled counselors to answer any questions or
concerns, medical or emotional, that arise before, during or after the

WoW collects evaluations from
women who use the service, and the results have been overwhelmingly
positive. This is remarkable evidence of the safety of home use of medication
abortion, as many of the women who contact WoW have low literacy rates
and/or are communicating in a language that is not their native tongue. 
Women from over 100 countries where there is no access to safe abortion
have successfully used the service to end an unwanted pregnancy, and
have expressed great satisfaction with the results and gratitude at
being able to safely take control of their reproductive lives, guided
by internet support. 

In many countries, the battle
for safe abortion started with women empowering themselves by learning
about medicine and creating self-help groups.  Women in countries
where abortion is legal have something to learn from women who have
used WoW – medication abortion is a safe, straightforward option for
ending an early unwanted pregnancy, and could be made more available
and less expensive if home use were an option.

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  • http://www.phcsicare.com/ invalid-0

    Abortion is one of the rampant problem in the Philippines. Youths and Teens are committing pre-marital sex with their companions.

    I think it is a pleasure not love. Sex is intended for those married person not for lower relationship. Some girls after knowing that they are pregnant, they usually think that they have to abort the child. They think abortion is the only way so that they family won’t get mad at them.

    Do they think abortion is one of the mortal sin???

    Health Care Services

    • invalid-0

      i think abortions are a sin because ur killin someone, i think im pregnant and i dnt noe what to do. what should i do? first thought that came to mind was a abortion. im 17 years old junior in high school. havin sex outside of wed lock. it happens everyday. im scared to death. scared my family wont love me anymore. scared il be treated lik i dont exist. my aunt already told me that if i get preg shes gonna put me out…plz help me!

    • invalid-0

      i think abortions are a sin because ur killin someone, i think im pregnant and i dnt noe what to do. what should i do? first thought that came to mind was a abortion. im 17 years old junior in high school. havin sex outside of wed lock. it happens everyday. im scared to death. scared my family wont love me anymore. scared il be treated lik i dont exist. my aunt already told me that if i get preg shes gonna put me out…plz help me!

  • invalid-0

    1. Abortion isn’t a “problem” but a solution.
    2. Pre-marital sex is a morally neutral activity, not a crime that is “committed.”
    3. Your opinion on what sex is “intended for” is just that, your opinion.
    4. It’s not a “child” but a fetus.
    5. Not all of us believe in “sin” or other religious concepts.

  • invalid-0

    good luck with your work Health Care Services and sucess in your efforts to encourage young people to value themselves and the sanctity of life. Susan and Kinga, I think its a malpractice insurance issue. Malpractice insurers make Dr’s do all kinds of things to prove they are following procedures. It’s probably more of a question of the Dr being able to confirm that the patient has been seen by him/her and fully informed in person of any possible side affects.

  • invalid-0

    I agree, at home is so much better and more private. Lets put it this way, No anti choice nuts can picket your house, LOL!!

  • invalid-0

    That person straight. I was thinking similar things as you, and thankfully, you posted yours! : )

  • invalid-0

    Women on Web and their efforts to spread knowledge and beat back ignorance remind me of one of my favorite sayings: The free flow of knowledge is the ultimate enemy of tyranny, and every tyrant worthy of the name knows it. Keep up the good work, WoW.
    By the way, “Health Care Services”, have you considered the possibility that abortion is a rampant problem in the Philippines because of the unrelenting opposition of certain groups to providing young people with reliable information and access to contraception?

  • invalid-0

    Jan can you tell me how you get this site to allow you to jump the line? You, know when you get to the computer a little late in the morning and wish you could have commented earlier in the conversation? Do you have to be a paid employee? just curious thank you

  • jodi-jacobson

    Jan was replying to a comment, rather than posting a new one.  This puts her comment right below the one to which she was replying.

    There is no employee privilege involved and Jan is not an employee of RHRC.

    Thanks for engaging the conversation and raising your question.




  • invalid-0

    Abortion, whether considered a problem or solution, is still an action that shirks the consequence of unprotected sex.

  • invalid-0

    Abortion is *taking responsibility*, not shirking it. Oh, and sometimes birth control does fail.

  • invalid-0

    CMarie, you are absolutely right about malpractice contributing to the over-medicalization of so much of medical practice, including requiring doctor supervision of medication abortion

  • http://www.idiaper.com invalid-0

    Very good point. Birth control does sometimes fail, as it is usually only 99% effective at best. How does the state have a right to say that premarital sex is wrong? If someone doesn’t want to have premarital sex, then that’s their right, but saying that someone else shouldn’t, isn’t that a little pushy. The same goes for saying that someone shouldn’t have an abortion, although I believe that the soul starts at conception.

  • therealistmom

    Even, should someone fail to use protection (whether out of ignorance, like being taught ab-only, or just stupidity) does there need to be some kind of "punishment" for sex? What if it was a rape- that is still "unprotected sex"… should the woman have to bear some kind of burden for that? A great many unwanted pregnancies are from protected sex where the birth control fails as well.

    And truly, I know I sure felt like I "got off the hook" for my evil sex when I was 15 when the foam didn’t work. I mean, damn all I had to do was go have surgery on my uterus! It was so much fun! I thought about inviting all my friends to go along so they might want to get pregnant at a young age too! And feeling like hell that my mom had to borrow money from a friend until my boyfriend could  pay her back was great- obviously that made it even, right? He had to pay money! I only had to have a surgical procedure. Things would have been sooooo much better if I had married the emotionally abusive guy and we raised a child together- because at least we would have taken responsibility.


  • invalid-0

    50% of unintended pregnancies occur with couples that were using a birth control method. http://thewelltimedperiod.blogspot.com/2008_10_01_archive.html

  • invalid-0

    Let’s keep it simple…..medical procedures should be supervised by a physician.and…..Do not legislate my body!
    This goes for all the males of the population.

  • invalid-0

    Oh, so pregnancy and childbirth are suitable punishments for women who have sex? Well, that says a lot about your mindset.

    I honestly don’t understand how right-to-lifers can beat their chests about the innocent babies and then in the next breath call them a punishment for sex. People who do that don’t love babies – they only want to see women shamed and humiliated for not copulating in a way they approve of.

  • invalid-0

    abortion is mean..and evil

  • invalid-0

    ken has spoken, and his opinion is that abortion is mean…and evil!! my eyes are opened now. overturn roe v. wade, throw the baby-killers in jail!
    please. you’re entitled to your opinion, sir. but, last i knew both “mean” and “evil” are subjective. not to mention a rather childish argument when discussing any even semi-serious/adult topic.

  • http://kuyakevin.blogspot.com invalid-0

    In-Home Abortion? Come on.

  • invalid-0

    If a woman receives the pill in the privacy of her doctor’s office, that already does much to prevent anti-abortion nuts from picketing her. They can’t possibly demonstrate in front of every doctor’s office worldwide.
    Having women use the pill at home without ever seeing a doctor is dangerous and, ultimately, unnecessary.

  • http://paris.conciergerie.com/pass/paris_metro_pass.php invalid-0

    I absolutely disagree with this. Its dangerous..should be handled in hospital with the expert