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Study: Medication-Induced Abortions Very Safe

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A new study finds that medication-induced abortions are very safe. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

A new study finds that medication-induced abortions are very safe. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Medication-induced abortions at Planned Parenthood have almost no serious side effects, a new study finds.

Less than one percent – or one in 625 — of women who received medication-induced abortions between 2009 and 2010 had any abortion-related complications, according to Reuters. This data comes from 233,805 first-trimester abortions that were done using the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol at 317 Planned Parenthood health centers.

“At Planned Parenthood, medical abortion is extremely safe,” reproductive health researcher James Trussell of Princeton University in New Jersey, who worked on the study, told Reuters. “The most common adverse outcome is just continuing pregnancy,” he added. “It doesn’t work 100 percent of the time.”

Only one-in-200 of the cases led to a woman having a pregnancy that wasn’t terminated after two unsuccessful attempts with the medication, according to the report from the Obstetrics & Gynecology report released on Thursday.

The study examines data that is controversial and politically divisive among Americans.

Pew Research Center polls conducted over the past two years find that most Democrats (65 percent) say that abortion should be legal in all or most cases; most Republicans (57 percent) say it should be illegal in all or most cases. Narrow majorities of both women (55 percent) and men (51 percent) say that abortions should be legal in all or most cases.

The data showed that 385 women had a serious side effect of the 233,805 total abortions during the study period. This includes 238 who sought treatment at the ER, 135 who were admitted to the hospital, 114 who had a blood transfusion and 57 who required intravenous antibiotics. All of the women in the study survived.

“This continues to show that medical abortion is a very, very safe option for women,” Dr. Debra Stulberg, who studies disparities in reproductive health at the University of Chicago and wasn’t involved in the new study, told Reuters. “That’s really the take-home point.”

Surgical procedures have also been shown to be safe in recent studies.

A study from 2010 showed that less than one percent of women having a surgical abortion prior to their sixteenth week of pregnancy needed intravenous fluid. And only one in 300 had a major complication as a result of surgery.

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