A new study by Planned Parenthood shows that the risk of infections associated with abortion pills can be decreased by taking the drugs orally (instead of vaginally) and with a concurrently prescribed course of antibiotics. After infections and some deaths were associated with the pills in 2006, researchers became suspicious of a link to the vaginal route of administration. This study is the first to measure the changes made by many abortion providers after these infections, which include consuming the drug by tucking a pill between the gums and the cheek (rather than swallowing), known as the buccal method, and prescribing antibiotics. According to the New York Times, Planned Parenthood found that “infection rates dropped considerably, to 0.06 per 1,000 abortions, from 0.93 per 1,000” after making these changes.
The Times reports that the pill’s manufacturer, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Abortion Federation, among others, have declined to make judgments on the study until the results can be reviewed in more detail. Regardless, this study has the potential to help abortion providers make the rate complication of infection with this already safe procedure even less common.