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Policy: Health Care

Washington Univ. birth control research challenged

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Education,Associated Press,Missouri,Health Care,Abortion,Contraception

ST. LOUIS — A Washington University research project is under scrutiny for its off-label use of a contraceptive device.

The research project provides free birth control devices to poor and uninsured women and teenagers in the St. Louis area for three years. The university says the study has led to fewer pregnancies and fewer abortions.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a 27-year-old woman is suing the university's medical school over what she calls an unethical research trial using a contraceptive device called Mirena. The device is a small, T-shaped plastic frame that's inserted into the uterus and releases a hormone to prevent pregnancy.

The woman says using the device soon after she gave birth resulted in two heart surgeries and a chronic illness. The university denies the lawsuit's allegations.

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