Medical abortion for Australian women: it's time

Caroline M De Costa
Med J Aust 2005; 183 (7): 378-380.


  • Medical termination of pregnancy with mifepristone, a progesterone antagonist, is available to women in North America, the United Kingdom, much of Western Europe, Russia, China, Israel, New Zealand, Turkey and Tunisia, but not Australia.

  • Experience of mifepristone use in around two million abortions has shown that it is safe, effective, cheap to produce, and highly acceptable to women.

  • Mifepristone is usually used in combination with a prostaglandin analogue, such as misoprostol; these drugs have been added to the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines for developing countries.

  • Availability of this drug in Australia might largely overcome many of the inequities of access to abortion, and is critical for many women in rural areas and women in some ethnic groups whose access to surgical abortion is limited.

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  • Caroline M De Costa

  • James Cook University School of Medicine, Cairns, QLD.


Competing interests:

None identified.

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