The implementation of an Ohio law that required abortion providers to adhere to an outdated protocol has increased complications for women who had medication abortions to go for additional interventions, says a new study.
The study was conducted by Ushma Upadhyay from the University of California, San Francisco, US, and colleagues in PLOS Medicine.
‘Ohio's abortion law for medication abortion was not associated with improved abortion outcomes. Women required more medical interventions and suffered more side effects following implementation of the law.’
In February 2011, an Ohio law took effect mandating the use of the protocol that was approved at that time by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for mifepristone, which is used with misoprostol for medication abortion. This protocol required different dosages of both medications from those supported by several international guidelines and used by most abortion providers throughout the US.
The researchers collected medical record data from 2,783 women who obtained a medication abortion between 2010 and 2014 from four clinics in Ohio and compared those who had abortions before and after the law took effect. They observed that women who had medication abortions in the post-law period were 3 three times as likely to need additional interventions to complete their abortion compared to women in the pre-law period. Furthermore, side effects such as nausea and vomiting were significantly more likely, and costs were higher for women after the law took effect.
While the study's conclusions are limited by the lack of a comparison group of women undergoing medication abortion who were not affected by the law change, the findings suggest that the change in Ohio law did not lead to improved abortion outcomes. The FDA amended its label for mifepristone use nationally for medication abortion in March, 2016.
The lead author, Ushma Upadhyay said, "Ohio's departure from international standards for medication abortion was not associated with improved abortion outcomes. Instead, women actually required more medical interventions, had to make more visits, suffered more side effects and incurred greater costs following implementation."