Experts Say Women in Developing Countries Need Access to Abortion Pill

A panel of 42 women’s health and population issues experts concluded that women in developing countries need better access to mifepristone ( formerly know as RU-486 or the French abortion pill), and that “this technology was ready for use in resource-poor environments,” according to July 24th issue of Science .

Co-authored by Dr. Wendy Ewart of the Wellcome Trust, a London-based medical charity, and Dr. Beverly Winikoff of The Population Council, the report stated that between 36 and 53 million unwanted pregnancies end in surgical abortion per year, and that “more than half of these abortions are performed under unsafe conditions and result in more than 70,000 deaths per year, almost all in developing countries.”

While mifepristone is widely accepted as an alternative to surgical abortion, and has even been used in Europe and China for many years, production and distribution of the drug is hindered by “the reluctance of some pharmaceutical companies to associate themselves with any abortifacient drug,” the authors said.

Ewat and Winikoff believe health advocates must “focus opinion on the social injustice of unsafe abortion in order to hold governments and their legislative processes accountable.”


Reuters - July 28, 1998

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