Less Than 1-in-5 Complications are Reported.

Did you know that the Government and Abortion Providers routinely under report the rate of complications caused by abortion pills? Our freedom of information investigation reveals that less than 1-in-5 complications are being reported.

DHSC Under Report.

The official DHSC statistics for 2020 show a 1.1% complication rate for all medical abortions and only 0.3% for medical abortions under 10-weeks. The footnote on Table 8 says:

“Total complications include: haemorrhage, uterine perforation, sepsis and/or cervical tear and are those reported up to the time of discharge. Therefore complications that occur after discharge may not be recorded.”

Abortion providers and the DHSC are not reporting medical abortion treatment failure as a complication, even though at least 5.9% of women using the abortion pills, need hospital treatment because of this failure. In any case, since these complications arise after discharge, the current method of reporting, using the HSA4 form, would still miss these cases even if the definition of complication were to include failed medical abortion treatment.

Abortion Providers Under Report.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists takes a pro-abortion position and can often be heard citing science and data in favour of the ‘safety’ and ‘efficacy’ of telemedicine abortion. It did so at the start of this year when promoting a cohort study into the safety, efficacy, and acceptability of telemedicine early medical abortion by Aiken et al. published in BJOG; we commented on this in February 2021. This study is still being used by activists when promoting the continuation of telemedicine abortion.

The authors claim that telemedicine abortion-at-home is very effective noting that in the period April – June 2020, across 29,984 medical abortions, only 208 women were treated surgically for the removal of retained products of conception (ERPC), a rate of 0.7%.

Our FOI investigation, which received responses from 85 NHS Trusts, found that 3.0% of women using abortion pills subsequently require a surgical procedure to complete the abortion by removing retained products of conception. We need data from only 20 NHS Trusts of the 127 which provide acute hospital services to reach an equivalent rate to that claimed by Aiken et al. These three Trusts alone provided more than 208 ERPC procedures in 2020:

  • Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust
  • King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust

Aiken et al. reported just seven cases of haemorrhage arising from 29,984 medical abortions in the period 06 April to 30 June 2020; they state that this cohort accounts for 85% of all medical abortions reported in England and Wales.

Our FOI investigation shows just how ridiculous this claim is; we need only refer to one of the 85 responses to find the same number of haemorrhage cases for the same period; that from e.g.:

  • University Hospital of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust

Overall we find 2.3% of women having an induced medical abortion are subsequently treated at an NHS hospital for haemorrhage; this rate is one hundred times higher than that claimed by Aiken et al. and promoted by the Royal College.

FOI Investigation

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