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J Am Med Womens Assoc. 2000;55(3 Suppl):183-5.

The knowledge, acceptability, and use of misoprostol for self-induced medical abortion in an urban US population.

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  • 1New York Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University in New York City, USA.



To assess the knowledge, acceptability, and use of misoprostol as an abortifacient in a primarily Latina population in the United States.


This was a cross-sectional study of 610 women who used one of three obstetrics/gynecology clinics in New York City. Participants answered a self-administered questionnaire about their demographic and obstetrical characteristics; patterns of contraceptive use, including emergency contraception; general acceptability of abortion; perceptions of accessibility to abortion; prevalence of misoprostol use; and knowledge, attitudes, and availability of misoprostol.


A substantial proportion (37%) of respondents admitted familiarity with the use of misoprostol as an abortifacient. The proportion of women who reported personal use of misoprostol (5%, 29/610) exceeded that reported in a large Brazilian prenatal care population (2.2%, 133/6102). Those who had taken misoprostol were more likely to have had abortions (p < 0.01), to be foreign born (p < 0.01), and to have known someone else who had used the drug (p < 0.01). Although the majority of women surveyed (73%) were Medicaid recipients, only half were aware that Medicaid covers abortion in New York State.


The results of this descriptive study indicate a need to increase awareness of pre- and post-conception family planning methods and to remove barriers to access to these methods. Further research is essential to elucidate the knowledge and unsupervised use of misoprostol in other US populations.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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