Misoprostol and Illegal Abortion in Fortaleza, Brazil

Misoprostol, a prostaglandin E1 analogue indicated for ulcer treatment, has been widely used as an abortifacient by women in Brazil, where abortion is legal only in cases of rape or incest, or to save the woman’s life. Because misoprostol is an inefficient abortifacient, many women who use it have incomplete abortions and need uterine evacuation. The study reviewed records of women admitted to the main obstetric hospital of Fortaleza, capital of Ceará state, Brazil, between January, 1990, and July, 1992, for uterine evacuation after induced abortion. The number of incomplete abortions induced by misoprostol increased substantially during the first half of 1990, and declined thereafter.

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