Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Women on Web and Women Around the World

A recent study by the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has brought light to the Women on Web website, which allows women to purchase the abortion drugs mifepristone and misoprostol. The pills, (which can be purchased for 55 British pounds, or about 110 American dollars), are only sent to countries where abortion is heavily restricted, or completely banned. Unfortunately, though the intention of the service is to “reduce the number of deaths due to unsafe abortions”, 11% of the women who used the pills had medical complications that required surgery. Sadly, these pills are the safest alternative to extremely dangerous illegal abortion. Though the Women on Web site helps women with their reproductive rights, it’s a frightening reminder of what could happen in the United States if Roe v. Wade is overturned. In the US, abortion restrictions such as mandatory waiting periods, parental notification and consent laws, and late term abortion bans are continually enacted. With these constant attacks on choice, the alternative method of obtaining pills from the Internet may be closer than we think. Without access to safe, legal abortion, women turn to dubious, dangerous termination methods that can cause serious side effects. Outlawing abortion doesn’t stop it from happening- as the Guttmacher Institute proves; the incidence of abortion is the same for women in every country, regardless of whether the procedure is legal. The need for safe, legal abortion is crucial to defending reproductive rights not only in America, but for women all over the world.

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

I like the idea of Women on Web and I am sure the providers really do want to help women, but at the same time I think it could result in dangerous consequences.
First, I did not see the potential risks or side effects resulting from a medical abortion clearly stated on the website. Hopefully a women will be provided with this information when getting the online medical consultation, but there is no way to be sure. Second, it is difficult to determine whether or not women can actually know if their medical consultation is being done by a legitmate licensed doctor. Third, services such as this can potentially open the door for fake websites that only want to take women's money. A fake provider could very easily copy the format of Women on Web and lead women to believe that they, too, are legitimate.
What is most important that women have access to safe abortions and are fully and accurately informed on everything that is invovled with abortions. I applaud any group that is willing to reach out to women in need, yet I am hesitant to have blind faith in every group that claims to offer women this service.