Hail to misoprostol and the women of El Salvador exercising choice…
As many of you may know I have never been a great fan of the international pharmaceutical complex, known for its frequent experimentation on unsuspecting populations in developing nations, there over inflated costs of HIV/AIDS drugs and their shameless profiteering. However, I do appreciate them for making misoprostol available and affordable internationally. Why , you may ask? Because “This illicit trade in misoprostol has cut the rate of maternal deaths in El Salvador significantly, says Sofia Villalta Delgado, with the Salvadoran Ministry of Health. Before misoprostol, women were regularly turning up at hospitals with major complications from botched abortions.
“When we were students and when we first started in medicine, women were arriving at the hospital totally septic, with infection in their entire abdomen,” she says through a translator. “You had to take out the whole uterus.”
This has gone down significantly, she adds.
Delgado says the Ministry of Health doesn’t endorse the use of misoprostol for abortion. After, all abortion is against the law in El Salvador. But as a public health official, she’s sees what she says is a public health benefit from the illicit use of this drug.” So why do I feel this is so significant?
Because it is 2014 and El Salvador still bans all abortions. So a young girl raped by her stepfather and who threatens to kill her and her entire family for telling, has little choice other than to visit the market… I can remember my mother telling me that as a young woman she knew of too many women who could not receive birth control or injured themselves through back alley abortions. And yet nearly 60 years later we have not moved very far. This is a crime against humanity and against all women. Women everywhere should have voice and choice. Now many of you know that I am not a formally religious individual but there are many of many denominations that share my views and they also need to be heard. Think about it. What voice and choice should every young woman worldwide have? A choice to protect themselves, to choose their life path and to make their own decisions about their reproductive health….