A Bristol teenager died after a drug-induced abortion left part of her six week-old foetus inside her, an inquest has heard.
The case raises safety concerns about early medical abortions, known as EMAs, which the Department of Health wants to make available away from hospitals.
18-year-old A-level student Manon Jones, described as a ‘bubbly’ church-goer, had wanted to keep her baby but decided to have an abortion because her boyfriend’s family were Muslims and would not approve of the pregnancy.
Her pregnancy was terminated in June 2005 using two drugs taken a couple of days apart. “She was scared and I tried to reassure her. It was a very emotional experience for us both,” her mother told the inquest.
Two weeks after her abortion Manon went on holiday, against medical advice, but returned home early feeling unwell and admitted herself to hospital in Bristol.
Doctors decided that she would need a blood transfusion. However, a delay caused by another emergency in the hospital meant Manon’s condition deteriorated. Her mother arrived to find her in intensive care.
Dr Hugh White said that she died of an abnormal decrease in blood volume and shock caused by “retained products of conception”, meaning that the foetus had not been fully expelled after the abortion.
Critics of EMAs say the procedure can, in a small number of cases, cause life-threatening complications. There are concerns that allowing women to use such drugs without proper medical supervision would put them in danger.
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children recently criticised the Government for running trials where EMA was made available in ‘non-traditional settings’.
Political Secretary Anthony Ozinic said: “Easier access to abortion trivialises the killing of unborn children and the damage caused to mothers and society by abortion.”