Policy ForumMedicine

Toward Safe and Effective Medical Abortion

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Science  24 Jul 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5376, pp. 520-521
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5376.520

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Summary

Unsafe abortions account for more than 70,000 deaths per year, almost all of which occur in the developing world. Medical (drug-induced) abortion, as opposed to surgical abortion, is a viable alternative for early termination of pregnancy. Although medical abortion has been around for more than 10 years, worldwide access to safer abortion has not become a reality. This article reports on recent efforts to assess research and development activity concerning medical abortion. An expert group identified key objectives on the path toward introduction of safe and effective medical abortion, including research and development objectives, provision of the compound mifepristone, local health service delivery, and advocacy and legal issues.

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