Until this weekend, women in Italy seeking the abortion pill could do so through the first seven weeks of gestation, and were required to first be admitted to the hospital for medical supervision. But on Saturday, Italy’s health minister Roberto Speranza announced in a tweet that the abortion pill will now be available for outpatient use in the country, and the new guidelines also allow women to take the pill through the ninth week of pregnancy.
According to the Associated Press, Speranza called the move a step forward since Italy first legalized abortion in 1978, and claimed the decision was based on scientific evidence. The country first began allowing the use of the abortion pill in 2009.
READ: Facing a falling birth rate, Italy passes law to encourage families to have children
Speranza’s deputy, Sandra Zampa, has been quoted saying that the change was necessary because the pill could be taken safely without hospitalization. Pro-choice groups also advocated for the law change on the basis that there was a stigma attached to taking the abortion pill in a hospital because many Italian health care workers have a conscientious objection to abortion.
The AP reports that the change was met with some opposition. Conservative lawmaker Giorgia Meloni warned that removing hospital oversight from the process would result in women being without necessary medical and psychological care, saying they would “experience a difficult and dangerous procedure in solitude.”
The abortion pill is a two-step process using the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone deprives the preborn baby of progesterone, starving it of nutrients. Take 24-48 hours later, misoprostol causes contractions to make the mother deliver her dead baby.
Despite the Italian minister’s claim that it is safe, the abortion pill can indeed be difficult and dangerous. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists a host of side effects, including instances of severe hemorrhaging requiring surgery. As of 2018, the U.S. reported 24 deaths related to the use of the abortion pill since it was first legalized in 2000, and over 4,000 more complications have been reported. The number of women negatively impacted by the abortion pill is likely far higher, since emergency rooms are not required to report adverse effects to the FDA. Some studies also show that the abortion pill is four times more dangerous for women than surgical abortion.
Despite Italy’s claim that outpatient use of the abortion pill is a step forward, allowing more widespread distribution of this procedure is dangerous.
Editor’s Note: For information on abortion pill reversal, visit AbortionPillReversal.com.
Editor’s Note, 4/18/21: The FDA has received reports of serious adverse events in women who took Mifeprex. As of December 31, 2018, there were reports of 24 deaths of women associated with Mifeprex since the product was approved in September 2000, including two cases of ectopic pregnancy resulting in death; and several cases of severe systemic infection (also called sepsis), including some that were fatal.
The adverse events cannot with certainty be causally attributed to mifepristone because of concurrent use of other drugs, other medical or surgical treatments, co-existing medical conditions, and information gaps about patient health status and clinical management of the patient. A summary report of adverse events that reflects data through December 31, 2018 is here.
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