The high incidence of abortion in Brazil and the increased use of misoprostol among women having clandestine/unsafe abortions has led to an interest in evaluating whether there is an association between the use of misoprostol and the incidence of septic complications post-abortion. To test this association, a retrospective cohort study was conducted with 1840 women treated post-abortion at the Instituto Materno-Infantil de Pernambuco (IMIP) between 1988 and 1992. Incidence of infection (4.2%) was lower in women stating they had used misoprostol than in those stating that the abortion was not induced (7.9%) and twelve times lower than in women stating that they had used other methods (49.4%). These results suggest that misoprostol is a safe, inexpensive method for inducing abortion, and leads to fewer complications and consequently shorter hospital stays. Misoprostol should be considered a viable option in situations where induction of abortion is legal or medically indicated.