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SPUC condemns call by health committee for more abortions

16 June 2003

SPUC condemns call by health committee for more abortions Westminster, 16 June 2003--The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has condemned a report by the House of Commons health select committee which calls for the liberalisation of abortion practice. The report into sexual health calls for open access to abortion services through a national advice line and for non-hospital nurses to be allowed to perform early non-surgical abortions, such as with RU486/prostaglandin. SPUC political spokesman Anthony Ozimic commented: "The committee's report claims that evidence shows that early non-surgical abortion "carries significantly reduced risk of complications, and can be less distressing" than surgical abortions, yet even the manufacturers of RU486 have rejected these claims: * in August 1990 the chairman of RU (Roussel-Uclaf) stated that: "As abortifacient procedures go RU486 is not at all easy to use. In fact it is more complex to use than the technique of vacuum extraction...a woman who wants to end her pregnancy has to "live" with her abortion for at least a week using this technique. It's an appalling psychological ordeal". * in May 2002, Dr Richard Hausknecht, medical director of Danco, the company which manufactures RU486 for the American market admitted that "(RU486) is not safer than a surgical abortion". * Mr. Ozimic continued: "Because of the way that RU486 is administered, the woman is involved in the whole process, she takes the tablets herself and is fully aware of the effects that the drugs are having on her body as they happen. It is possible for the embryo or foetus to come away while she is at home, possibly alone. Furthermore, use of RU486/prostaglandin may cause haemorrhage requiring blood transfusion, severe pain requiring strong pain killers, incomplete abortion, rupture of the uterus, vaginal bleeding, abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, headache, muscle weakness, dizziness, flushing, chills, backache, difficulty in breathing, chest pain, palpitations, rise in temperature and fall in blood pressure. "This move to the fast-tracking and increasing demedicalisation of abortion will leave women even more vulnerable to the misinformation and pressure which often accompanies abortion. Pregnant women are often put under intense pressure and abortion can seem to be the only option. Experienced pregnancy counsellors will report that many women and girls are making decisions to have abortions with little or no information about the development of their baby and the physical and psychological risks of abortion to themselves," concluded Mr. Ozimic.

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