Drug bust fuels abortion debate – Anti-abortion stance no longer an issue of morality
THE discovery of sixty-one “abortion pills” during a month long police drug enforcement operation in November has revealed that illegal abortion is a thriving illicit procedure for especially young women and teenage girls.
The police confirmed earlier that a Tanzanian, Burundian and Ugandan were arrested after found in possession of 61 Cycotec tablets, valued at N$40 050.
Ignorant and vulnerable women in Namibia pay 80 times more for the pills that can be acquired legally by prescription, while a step by step recipe is available on various sites on the internet guaranteeing a 94 percent success rate with the first attempt and only six percent of patients resorting to a second attempt three days later.
Doctors confirmed that Cycotec is legally prescribed to prevent or cure stomach ulcers in men and women and therefore a man can acquire the pills without raising any suspicion with pharmacists. Cycotec/ Misoprostol/ Misotrol/ Arthrotec/ Oxapost and various other brands are identified on a website that is promoting itself as an online medical abortion service.
The site warns that it might ask for donations between 70 and 90 Euros (N$1 200 to N$1 500) to make sure that the service is available to all women. Pharmacists insisted that at legal outlets in the most remote areas of Namibia, the pills are available at a fraction of the value of N$4 050 that the drug squad put on the value of the 61 pills. A total course of 60 pills will cost just over N$500 at most pharmacies, which is nearly hundred times cheaper than what it is sold for on the lucrative illegal medicine market. “Worst of all it comes in packages of 120 pills, which can end 30 unwanted pregnancies in various stages and might even contribute to the wrong perception of baby dumping. One packet is double the amount of pills confiscated from the three foreign nationals,” one doctor said, adding “In many cases, baby dumping is not a mother that gives birth and then changes her mind, but the late inducement of chemical abortion and result is a more than often early and still born birth. Instead of baby dumping, it is more an issue of getting rid of the evidence.”
Pharmacists and medical doctors said it will be an extremely difficult case to prove as the drugs are legally available and advice is on various free public platforms.
The doctor is of the opinion that the issue of abortion can no longer just be a moral issue, but that steps must be taken to take the debate into the arena of the realistic and to save lives and put an end to illegal and dangerous procedures.