Italy Approves Abortion Pill for ‘Do-It-Yourself’ Use at Home

Abortion Pill
(Photo: Seb_ra / Getty Images)

Italian women may now use abortion pills without medical supervision through the first nine weeks of pregnancy, according to guidelines announced this month by Health Minister Roberto Speranza.

The two-part abortion pill regimen has been available in Italy since 2009, but required that the first pill, mifepristone, be taken in a hospital. Now, however, women will be able to use both mifepristone and misoprostol within their own homes, the Associated Press reported. Speranza hailed the change as “an important step forward.”

More than 80,000 abortions were reported in Italy in 2017, 20 percent of which are via pills. Eliminating the requirement for hospital stays is expected to both increase the overall number of abortions and the share of them committed chemically.

Conservative lawmaker Giorgia Meloni spoke out against the rule change, warning that the shift to “do-it-yourself” abortions means women will undergo the procedure without medical professionals standing by in case something goes wrong; rather, they would have to “experience a difficult and dangerous procedure in solitude.”

Marina Casini, president of the Italian pro-life group Movimento per la Vita, said the change was part of a propaganda effort to reframe abortion as a “trivial fact — after all, it is enough to drink a glass of water — to make us forget that at stake is the destruction of a human being in the prenatal stage.”

“It is much less expensive to give this product to the woman and say: do it yourself, do it alone,” Casini added. “It saves beds, anesthesia and even human investment of doctors and health workers. There is a nice cut in spending, however, it is carried out on the skin of children on their way to birth and their mothers.”

Around the world, abortion pills are an issue of major focus for the abortion debate, due to their potential to dramatically increase abortions and circumvent regulations (via organizations that mail abortion pills across the planet, regardless of a recipient’s local laws and rules on the subject).

“In addition to the more than 3.7 million children legally killed by the abortion pill, there is a significant body of research showing that chemical abortions pose serious health risks to women,” argued American pro-life leaders Lila Rose and Michael New in an op-ed last week urging the United States to ban the pill.

“For instance, a 2015 study that appeared in Obstetrics and Gynecology analyzed comprehensive data from Medicaid billing records in California,” they wrote. “It found that chemical abortions result in a complication rate four times higher than that of first-trimester surgical abortions. The risk of a major complication with a chemical abortion was nearly twice as high as the risk of a major complication with a first-trimester surgical abortion. Additionally, a 2009 study of over 42,000 women from Finland found that 20 percent of women who obtained chemical abortions experienced an ‘adverse event’ afterward.”