Savine, rue, tansy, ergot. In ancient times, these were the substances used by autodidact midwives to induce an abortion. The methods were not really efficient and extremely dangerous not only for the health of the foetus, but also for the woman.
Today –at least in the West – times have changed, there is no more need to collect plants for practicing an interruption of pregnancy at the home. All you need is a PC, connect to the internet, access to one of the many sites that sell abortion pills and purchase a box with a simple click.
The alarm in the United Kingdom
An alarm has been launched in the United Kingdom for the growing number of women who resort to this solution. This phenomenon – called do-it-yourself abortion or bedroom abortion – emerged even after the Operation Pangea, that a year ago involved police forces from 193 countries of the world to intercept the market of counterfeit or illegal drugs.
Only in the UK have been seized 375 abortion kit shipped from various sites to private homes in England, Wales and Scotland. A veritable boom in the last year, if you consider that in 2015 the seizures were two hundred and seventy, in 2014 180 and in 2013 just five.
The risk for British women who purchase this type of Drugs online is to end up behind bars. This is in fact an illegal practice because in this way the pregnant woman eludes the medical prescription and the talks with the public family centre.
In England so far, two purchasers of abortion Pills online have been arrested, in 2012 and 2015. They are young girls who were unaware of the health and legal risks of their gesture, persuaded by the captivating advertising of the sites that take advantage of this market.
The British newspaper Independent published a review of comments appeared on a forum from women explaining the reasons why they have decided to opt for a do-it-yourself abortion by purchasing the pills online. “For me it is impossible to go to a clinic, because I have a daughter with disability, I cannot leave her alone and I do not have anyone that can take care about her,” writes a pregnant mother longing to interrupt her pregnancy. Another explains that she prefers to do everything alone rather than go to a clinic, to avoid the judgment of her partner and parents.
These young girls however do not take into consideration the dangers that their gesture prelude. An Indian twenty-one years old girl tells the nightmare experienced after having purchased on the internet the pill mifepristone (RU-486) and use it: “I had contractions for over ten hours, I was sweating, crying and bleeding abundantly“.
Also in Italy
The virtual supermarket of the interruption of pregnancy also landed in Italy. The Public Prosecutors of Genoa lifted the veil on this phenomenon in 2013, with three parallel investigations. A couple of years after, in 2015, the dossier has been enriched with the witness of a seventeen year old girl, hospitalized for some unusual and prolonged bleeding. The girl did not want to explain the truth to the doctors, but it emerged as a result of an ultrasound: after having eaten nine tablets of a drug to treat ulcer, her uterus contracted up to collapse in a slow internal bleeding. The young girl has been saved by a trifle.
The drug in question is composed of micropostolo that, if taken in large doses, causes the detachment of the foetus from the placenta and therefore its expulsion. This drug was again under the spotlights on other occasions, always used for abortions, therefore for a purpose different from its original function.
But in the network also the market of RU486 is flourishing, allowing girls to avoid consultors, gynaecologists, psychological and medical assistance. And this abortion pill is not safe. In April 2014, a thirty-seven years old woman from Turin died after having taken one of them. According to a dossier published by the newspaper La Stampa, in 2014 there were twenty-seven cases of pharmacological interruption of pregnancy that ended with the death of the patient throughout the world. Allergy, hypersensitivity to the active substance, administration in the case of extra-uterine pregnancy or sixty days after conception: these are the situations where the assumption of RU486 can be lethal for women.
The prices of these packages sold online oscillate from199 (for the base kit) to 240 dollars (for a more complete kit, including also medicines that stem bleeding). But there are sites where you can spend rather modest amounts: the Daily Mail in 2014 stated that British teenager bought the pills on south-east Asian sites for just 78 pence each (about 90 cents Euro). Produced by criminal organizations, these low-cost pills do nothing else but increasing the risk for the health.
On this theme, even feminist associations took position, warning young girls from buying abortion pills on the web. The Osservatore Romano last 3 June published the supplication of one of these groups of activists: “Please do not fall in the trap. Stay away from these sites, they are fraudulent and they could damage your health”.