‘Internet abortions’ may be option in some countries

Five years ago, the tragic case of a young woman in Ireland made headlines around the world. Savita Halappanavar had been 17 weeks pregnant when she entered a hospital in pain. Doctors told her miscarriage was “inevitable.” But they also said she had to continue to carry the baby because of the country’s abortion ban. Her condition deteriorated, and she died within a week of an infection.

Halappanavar’s death sparked numerous protests, investigations and soul-searching. Ireland still is among the strictest countries in the world regarding abortion law. But a study published in the BMJ on Tuesday details how some women can get around the restrictions — through telemedicine.

Researchers looked at data from Women on Web (WoW), a nonprofit group that provides an online consultation service for women who live in countries where abortion is restricted. Its doctors review the information a woman gives about her pregnancy and provide prescriptions for medical-abortion pills such as mifepristone or misoprostol. A third-party company fills the prescription and sends the pills in the mail. WASHINGTON POST

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