Telemedicine platforms have taken the medical industry to a whole new level. With almost every business going online these days, more and more people are resorting to buying things online from the comfort of their homes. The online shopping experience is hassle-free, and products get delivered to your doorstep in safe and sealed packaging. However, when it comes to purchasing medications online, you have to keep yourself informed about the potential risks and complications that are involved.
With countries and various states in the US creating additional barriers for women trying to get an abortion, women are turning to the Internet for help in the wake of terminating their pregnancies themselves. Given that abortion can take place in the comfort of one’s home, women choose to handle it on their own.
Taking a look at online searches for self-managed abortion, a significant increase was seen in the year 2011. The Guttmacher Institute reports that more than 200,000 Google searches were made by American internet users for seeking information about self-managed abortion shortly after US President Donald Trump took office. And guess what? These searches eventually led users to websites selling abortion pills online. A person who wishes to purchase these pills online will likely get a pack containing the drugs – Mifepristone (or RU-486) and Misoprostol (or Cytotec) that are required to end a pregnancy in its first trimester.
While both these drugs are considered safe and effective for the early termination of pregnancy, getting these pills online can be an intimidating task. Though the process is fairly easy, it hasn’t always been trustworthy. So, is it safe to buy abortion pills online? And what should you know about buying abortion pills online?
Websites Selling Abortion Pills – Are they Real?
Talking about the authenticity of the drugs that are delivered to your door, they are completely genuine and not some sugar-coated pills. While it leaves the customer skeptical at first whether to trust the website or not, several lab tests have been conducted to determine the amount of mifepristone and misoprostol used in the tablets.
The research was conducted on 18 websites, and 22 products were ordered – 20 of them containing a combination of both mifepristone and misoprostol and 2 of them containing misoprostol only. Out of these 18 websites, 16 websites delivered 18 combination products, and the rest 2 delivered misoprostol only as desired. The other 2 websites shipped the products, but they failed to reach the destination. None of these websites required a prescription or any relevant medical information to purchase the pills. The cost of these products ranged from $110 to $360, with products containing misoprostol-only being less expensive.
Lab tests showed that 18 tablets labeled mifepristone 200 mg contained anywhere between 184.3 mg and 204.1 mg mifepristone. On the other hand, tablets labeled misoprostol 200 mcg contained between 34.1 mcg and 201.4 mcg of misoprostol.
Given the efficacy of these drugs, the amount of mifepristone (which blocks the effects of progesterone) in all the drugs was relatively the same. However, misoprostol which comes in the form of a 200 mcg tablet, was found to be in lower amounts which could be less effective (not harmful, though).
When you order pills online, the difficult part is going through the shipping process, which can take anywhere around 2-3 weeks to deliver. Where abortion pills are found to be effective for pregnancies of not more than 10 weeks, this could be a challenging situation if the woman is in her 8th or 9th week of pregnancy. In a time-sensitive situation where a woman is in desperate need of a medication that ends her pregnancy, getting pills that contain lesser amounts of ingredients as advertised could pose problems for her. While these medications may not be harmful to her, they can turn out to be ineffective instead.
This is why getting an abortion kit such as MTP Kit online can be really helpful since it contains all the vital medications required for abortion – one tablet of Mifepristone 200 mg and four tablets of Misoprostol 200 mcg.
Furthermore, you should always look for a trusted telemedicine platform that can help you get the desired medication you’re looking for. Online healthcare platforms such as Hisblue have a dedicated team of medical professionals and customer support executives who work closely to fulfill the needs of their customers. And obviously, it gives reassurance to the customers when they get to talk to the company over the phone that their pills would be delivered to them safely.
Taking a Look at Surgical and Medical abortions
Surgical abortions are in-clinic procedures that are performed under the supervision of a medical professional, whereas medical or medication abortions involve the use of pills such as mifepristone and misoprostol. Surgical abortion generally involves procedures such as dilation & curettage, suction, etc., that make use of medical instruments to remove the pregnancy from the uterus. On the other hand, medical abortion works by blocking the effects of progesterone and increasing uterine contractions so that the pregnancy tissues can pass out easily through the vagina. While surgical abortions are very common, and a majority of women choose to go for surgical options (since they hardly take 10 to 20 minutes), they may not be a feasible option for women who are looking for the privacy and comfort of their homes. This is where medical abortions come into play. Medical abortion can be performed in the comfort of one’s home and involves the oral administration of pills.
Both abortion procedures are considered safe and effective. However, only surgical abortion can be performed for a pregnancy that is in its second trimester. Discuss all the pros and cons of abortion and any other questions you have with your doctor before making a decision.
The Reality of Self-induced Abortions – Are they Legal?
Women may choose to induce an abortion on their own, typically a medical abortion – medications for which can be easily obtained online. There are women out there who don’t get proper access to abortion or choose to end an unwanted pregnancy on their own. Having strict laws for abortion and women who may not feel comfortable conforming to these can resort to practices that involve gaining access to abortion pills online without a prescription from the doctor.
According to the reproductive justice legal group, there are 5 states in the US that still have laws on the books criminalizing self-induced abortions. Another 38 states have laws criminalizing harm to fetuses.
Reproductive rights advocacy groups are trying to put pressure on the states to ask FDA to lift restrictions imposed on mifepristone and misoprostol.
Where obtaining abortion medications from online websites is feasible in the US, it becomes the person’s responsibility to purchase these medications only from a trusted website.
This topic is being discussed solely for one reason women may fear being penalized for self-managed abortions. Lifting off restrictions can help normalize this situation and also enable telemedicine platforms to serve better.
- Exploring the feasibility of obtaining mifepristone and misoprostol from the internet https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010782417304754
- Kerestes, Courtney MD; Freese, Mikayla BA; Stockdale, Colleen K. MD, MS; Hardy-Fairbanks, Abbey J. MD. Googling Abortion Pills: The Ease of Buying Misoprostol and Mifepristone Online for Home Use [1N]. Obstetrics & Gynecology 133():p 150S, May 2019. | DOI: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000559307.14716.87
- Justia US Law. NY Penal L § 125.05 (2012). http://law.justia.com/codes/new-york/2013/pen/part-3/title-h/article-125/125.05/
- US Food & Drug Administration. “Mifeprex (mifepristone) Information.” March 30, 2016. https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm111323.htm