A hotline that gives women practical information on the safe use of Misoprostol for abortion was launched in Caracas.
The hotline “Abortion: Safe Information” was launched in Venezuela on May 18,2011. Women in Venezuela can now call 0426 1169496 and get information about the safe use of misoprostol in case of unwanted pregnancy.
This service will try to fill the information gap about the safe use of Misoprostol to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, in order to protect women’s health.
Similar hotlines already exist in other Latin American countries: Argentina, Chile, Peru and Ecuador. The hotline organizers received training from Women on Waves and members of the Ecuadoran and Argantine hotlines. Participants in the Ecuador hotline “Salud Mujeres” (Women’s Health hotline) travelled to Venezuela to support the hotline launch.
The official launch of the hotline took place at the Nuevo Circo, followed by a question and answer session attended by men and women from different feminist collectives and medical professionals supportive of the iniciative.
The hotline aims especially to help women with little financial resources who are unable to afford an abortion in a private clinic, and to demystify abortion and break taboos so that the subject can be openly discussed, to pave the way towards de-penalization.
In Venezuela there are few statistics available on abortion, though the Guttmacher Institute estimates that 4.1 million abortions are performed annually in Latin America. It is estimated that one or two women die every week in Venezuela due to unsafe abortion, and 10-20 women are hospitalized. These deaths and hospitalizations could be prevented if women had access to information about the safe use of misoprostol, sold in Venezuela under the brand name Cytotec.
Misoprostol has been used by women in Latin America for over 20 years, and has been clinically shown to be a safe and effective abortion method, recognized by the World Health Organization, and FLASOG, along with other international gynecological and reproductive health organizations. Misoprostol, when used correctly, is 80-90% effective in ending an unwanted pregnancy, and carries the same medical risks as a miscarriage at the same length of pregnancy, meaning that complications are rare, and their treatment is routine and available in any basic health center. About one in five pregnancies ends in spontaneous miscarriage but only very few cases require any medical treatment. The hotline organizers consider it a woman’s right to have this lifesaving information.
Video of hotline launch: