Journal article models how wider use of misoprostol could reduce maternal deaths from unsafe abortion

April 2007

April 27, 2007 – An article by Ibis President Kelly Blanchard, Senior Associate Dan Grossman, and colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco appeared in this month’s International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics. Named one of the “Editor’s Selections,” the article models how wider use of misoprostol could reduce maternal deaths resulting from unsafe abortion in resource-poor countries. The journal’s editors provided the following write-up:

“As has been reported in this journal on many occasions, unsafe abortion is a significant contributor to maternal mortality, especially in developing countries. The present paper addresses the issue of the potential use of misoprostol to induce elective abortion as a simple intervention to reduce maternal mortality, especially in the developing world. The basis of the evaluation is to determine the impact on maternal mortality if misoprostol were used to replace other, riskier, abortion techniques that are presently being used. The statistical analysis tested the above hypothesis and demonstrated that an increased use of misoprostol, which is an option already available for pregnancy termination in many countries, could significantly reduce maternal mortality due to abortion. As the authors appropriately point out, for misoprostol abortion to have the greatest impact on mortality, timely access to post-abortion care at hospitals and clinics is necessary. The obvious follow-up to this paper is documentation of the actual reduction in mortality rates in medical pregnancy termination as misoprostol use increases in developing countries. Maternal mortality is a terrible tragedy, and anything that we can do to reduce maternal morbidity and maternal death merits our attention.”

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