Monday, October 15, 2007


When I review Eve's maternal mortality statistics, so many of these maternal mortalities are a result of unsafe abortions. It makes me cringe to read the methods they used (eg. "cassava stem inserted vaginally" as in MM#5).

The Lancet published research article last Friday that showed that abortions are not less common in countries where it is illegal, only less safe. Here is the New York Times article about it:

In a discussion today among the consultants (attendings), it was noted that MVAs are often unavailable, and are being discouraged by health authorities because they assume that they will then be used by healthcare providers for illegal abortions. For the same reason, misoprostol is not approved (it can only be purchased on the black market for about $2 per 200mcg pill), even for postpartum hemorrhage.
Therefore, two methods which are known to be extremely effective in the treatment of pregnancy-associated hemorrhage - one of the biggest killers of pregnant women - are discouraged or prohibited because of a fear that they will be used to perform safe, illegal abortion.

Now, a multiple choice quiz:
1. Women are dying in droves every day of hemorrhage and septic abortion. This is:
a) Good
b) Bad

2. A woman dying of hemmorhage should die because the method that would save her life could possibly be used for an illegal abortion.
a) True
b) False

As one of the consultants said in the discussion today, almost anything can be used for illegal abortion if the desire is there. Maybe we should make cassava illegal.

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