Misoprostol: pathways, mediation and social networks for access to abortion using medication in the context of illegality in the State of Sao Paulo

Margareth Martha Arilha About the author

The scope of this article is to discuss the commercialization and use of misoprostol for abortion purposes in the illegal contexts that still persist in Brazil. The information presented was collected through case studies conducted with two young women who aborted using medication - one successfully and one unsuccessfully - and two adult women who have close ties with women who used misoprostol. The study confirms the hypothesis that the diffusion and expansion of the use of misoprostol outside the hospital context is associated with the decision of women who seek lower costs, lower risks to their health and privacy. It also permits examination of the interpretation that this increase in consumption is linked to the inclusion of the medication in a set of goods that are illegally traded in Brazil, in different ways and in different contexts. As a result, women are exposed to different degrees of vulnerability depending directly on the steps taken, types of mediation used and social networks they belong to. These are the ways in which women and men obtain access to the use of misoprostol for abortion, the outcome of which may be successful or not.

Misoprostol; Abortion; Drugs; Illegality; Social networks; Mediation


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