An editorial in The Lancet has demanded that chemical abortion drugs be placed on the World Health Organisation’s list of “essential medicines”. More than two months ago, an WHO expert committee recommended this, but it appears that lobbying by the Bush Administration has blocked it. According to the Guardian newspaper, WHO experts feel that chemical abortions are less risky than normal abortions in developing countries, where they can result in serious infections and even death. They acknowledge that the availability of pills might make abortion easier and could increase the number choosing it, but they feel it would reduce the toll of surgical abortions. The Lancet has called upon the WHO to resist American meddling.
The abortion drug, also called RU-486, is highly controversial, especially in the US, although it has been approved in a number of other countries. Because it is self-administered, it is difficult to monitor and it can have serious side-effects, including death.
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