Early medical abortion: reflections on current practice

O&G Magazine (RANZCOG), by Dr Lisa Rasmussen

In the last 30 years, medical abortion has globally become an established, safe and straightforward method for pregnancies of less than nine weeks gestation. It is now recommended by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists as the method of choice for women up to nine weeks gestation.

The reality of providing medical abortion for women, however, is a more complex matter. Abortion services are contextualised by the specific and, at times, changing abortion laws in each country and state. These laws, in turn, are determined and maintained by each jurisdiction’s specific gendered social and political histories, practices and attitudes.

In Australia and New Zealand, this context continues to affect who can provide medical abortions, the models of care adopted, the ongoing struggle to provide affordable and accessible care to all women, and the level to which medical abortion is accepted as a normal and important part of women’s healthcare.

Within the context of these histories and challenges, this article will attempt to guide you through the process of providing a medical abortion as a health practitioner.

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