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When Abortion Pills Were Banned in Brazil, Women Turned to Drug Traffickers

Women’s reliance on the black marketplace for entry to treatment abortions means they could not observe greatest medical observe. When C., a 24-year-old instructor in Recife, purchased misoprostol from a drug seller final 12 months, she searched Google to determine how to take it. “Because it was illegal, there was no information about how to take it or what to take,” she mentioned.

Her search discovered suggestions to insert the tablets in her vagina, as a physician would if she had been in a clinic, however cautioned that traces could be left behind and provides her away if she wound up in hospital; as a substitute, she dissolved them beneath her tongue, a technique that additionally works however much less shortly.

C., who requested to be recognized solely her center preliminary out of worry of prosecution, bled for weeks after and needed to ask her mom, a gynecologist, for recommendation. But her mom is an anti-abortion activist. Finally, C. mentioned she thought she had miscarried, and her mom took her to see a colleague who carried out a dilation-and-curettage beneath anesthetic.

“When I was having the curettage, I had to keep saying over and over to myself, ‘Don’t say anything, you can’t say anything’ — it was torture,” she mentioned. “Even though I was totally sure that I wanted an abortion, I had no doubts, you still feel like you’ve done something wrong because you can’t talk about it.”

The restriction on misoprostol has sophisticated common obstetric care, which makes use of on the drug for induction of labor, mentioned Dr. Derraik. At the Rio public maternity hospital the place she is medical director, a physician should fill out a request in triplicate for the drug, have it signed by Dr. Derraik, take it to the pharmacy the place the supervisor should additionally signal earlier than taking it out of a locked cupboard, after which the doctor should administer the drug with a witness, to guarantee it isn’t diverted for black market sale.

“Not all of these steps are officially required,” Dr. Derraik mentioned. “But hospitals do them because of the intense paranoia around the drug.”

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