Editor’s note. This appeared on the blog of the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues.
A recently released official review of UNFPA–Evaluation of the UNFPA Support to Family Planning 2008-2013–reveals UNFPA’s work to ensure that the drug Misoprostol is in on the essential medicines list in many countries which the evaluation notes “has revolutionised access to safe abortion.”
Misoprostol is the second drug in the RU-486 regimen which causes uterine contractions and the expulsion of the preborn child from the womb. Countries with pro-life laws do not register the first RU-486 drug, Mifepristone, since it has only one use–to bring about the death of the child in the womb.
However, since Misoprostol has other uses, including maternal life-saving use for the prevention and treatment of post partum hemorrhage, countries most often register the drug and include it on the country’s essential medicines list for this purpose. Once the drug is in the country, pro-abortion NGOs then work to inform women on use of the drug for self-induced abortion via abortion hotlines or by direct distribution of the pills, including in countries where abortion is illegal.
The evaluation uses the words “discreet leadership” to explain UNFPA’s efforts:
“International stakeholders have also recognised the discreet leadership that UNFPA has played in getting Misoprostol on the essential medicines list in many countries, which has revolutionised access to safe abortion.”
One has to wonder why UNFPA would have to be discreet about seeking inclusion of Misoprostol on the essential medicines lists and whether or not it promotes use of the drug for abortion in settings where abortion is illegal.