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Northern Ireland authorities must protect women from illegal abortion drugs

17 June 2016


BELFAST, 17 June 2016: The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), the UK’s leading pro-life organisation, is warning public authorities in Northern Ireland that they cannot afford to ignore the potentially deadly consequences of a campaign encouraging women to obtain illegal abortion drugs in the Province.

Liam Gibson, SPUC’s development officer in Northern Ireland, said: “Abortion advocates who promote the use of illegal abortion drugs are putting women’s lives in danger. These drugs are known to have killed dozens of women worldwide including Manon Jones (18) from Bristol and Jessie-Maye Barlow (19) from Staines in England. This campaign to convince the public that these highly dangerous drugs are actually safe shows a shocking disregard for the lives of the women who may be incited to take them.
“The public authorities must take the threat posed by this campaign seriously. Abortion activists believe that the best way to change the law is to break it. They appear to be prepared to risk the lives of women to achieve their aims but the police and the Director of Public Prosecutions need to act now to end this campaign before a woman is seriously injured or even killed through the use of illegal abortion drugs," said Mr Gibson.

Notes for Editors:

Mifepristone, the drug (also known as RU486) used to procure so-called medical abortions, is widely recognised as dangerous. Research has shown that the death rate from infection following medical abortion has been ten times higher than the death rate from infections following surgical abortion and 50 times more compared to childbirth. Women frequently are alone in their homes when the abortion occurs. RU486 is known to have killed dozens of women worldwide including Manon Jones (18) from Bristol and Jessie-Maye Barlow (19) from Staines. According to the Italian news agency ASCA, the drug's European manufacturer, Exelgyn, told the Italian health authorities that globally 29 women have died following its use.

Short of death, the most serious concerns are haemorrhage and sepsis. Women who take these drugs usually bleed for one or two weeks, with 8% bleeding more than one month. This leaves women exposed to infection for an extended period of time. The average woman experiences four times the average blood loss associated with a surgical abortion. According to figures from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in about 1 out of 100 women, bleeding can be so heavy that it requires a surgical procedure (surgical abortion/D&C) to stop it.

Sometimes the bleeding is of massive proportions well beyond the amount of bleeding typically experienced in usual gynaecological cases. Dr Donna Harrison, co-author of a published report on 607 of the Adverse Event Reports received by the FDA on so-called medical abortions, testified before a U.S. Congressional committee regarding the severity of some of the cases: “In my experience as an obstetrician and gynaecologist, the volume of blood loss seen in the life-threatening cases is comparable to that observed in major surgical trauma cases like motor-vehicle accidents. This volume of blood loss is rarely seen in early surgical abortion without perforation of the uterus, and it is rarely seen in spontaneous abortions.”

For further comments or to request an interview, please contact Liam Gibson on:

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