The Australian May 07, 2011
Complications from the abortion pill are higher than for standard surgical terminations, according to the first big published study comparing the two methods in Australia. The “audit” of nearly 7000 abortions performed in South Australia in 2009 and last year found that 3.3 per cent of women who used mifepristone in the first trimester of pregnancy – when most elective terminations occur – later turned up at hospital emergency departments, against 2.2 per cent who had undergone surgery. And the rate of hospital admission jumped to 5.7 per cent for recipients of early “medical” abortions – using drugs – compared with 0.4 per cent for surgical patients re-admitted for post-operative treatment. The findings will undermine a selling point of medical abortion – that the risk of complication is less than or equivalent to an operation – and play into the hands of opponents of the rollout of mifepristone, or RU486.