At-Home Abortions Are Not Pro-Woman
Just a few days ago, a 23-year-old pro-abortion leader in Argentina died after a legal abortion. Argentina only legalized abortion at the end of last year, but abortion has already claimed the life of a young woman, not to mention thousands of unborn children. According to Live Action, María del Valle González López went to obtain the abortion on April 7 and was dead by April 11. Her abortion was performed using the abortion drug Mifepristone, also known as RU-486.
News of the young woman’s death adds an even more tragic note to the recent decision by the Biden administration to allow women to legally kill their unborn children in the privacy of their own homes, without ever having met with a physician, using RU-486. A woman now needs to meet only virtually with a doctor who can prescribe her the drug, which she can then obtain through the mail and self-administer at home.
Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock announced the change last week, claiming that the health agency had determined that allowing women to self-abort at home, with no medical supervision, posed no significant health risks. Immediately, an abortion group launched a new website – Abortion on Demand – where women will be able to order abortion drugs in the U.S., to be delivered by mail. The “service” will mail drugs to women in 20 different states, at a cost of $239.
Exploiting the Pandemic
Last year, I told you about how abortion activists all over the world were cynically exploiting the COVID pandemic as an opportunity to expand abortion. As the world was being ravaged by the first wave of COVID, abortion activists began talking about the urgent “need” to make it legal for women to obtain abortion pills from home. Even the United Nation’s “Global Humanitarian Response Plan” (HRP) promoted at-home “medical” abortions as a key part of responding to COVID.
At the time, fortunately, the Trump administration strongly pushed back. In a statement, John Barsa, the acting USAID administrator, urged the UN not to use the pandemic “as an opportunity to advance access to abortion as an ‘essential service.’”
“Unfortunately,” Barsa continued, “the Global HRP does just this, by cynically placing the provision of ‘sexual and reproductive health services’ on the same level of importance as food-insecurity, essential health care, malnutrition, shelter, and sanitation. Most egregious is that the Global HRP calls for the widespread distribution of abortion-inducing drugs and abortion supplies, and for the promotion of abortion in local country settings.”
Unfortunately, despite the Trump administration’s efforts to hold the line on safety regulations, abortion activists, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, kept pushing and pushing. In some states, women were permitted to obtain abortion drugs remotely, via “telemedicine.” Eventually the issue ended up before the United States Supreme Court. The court ruled, 6-3, that the Trump administration could reinstate the rules that required abortion drugs to be administered by a physician in-person.
In January, abortion activists began agitating for the Biden administration to loosen the regulations again. Not that they needed to push very hard. The Biden administration is nothing if not utterly committed to the pro-abortion cause. The administration’s new loosening of the rules is theoretically temporary, lasting as long as the COVID crisis lasts. However, there is little doubt that abortion activists will push to make the change permanent, using this in-between period as an opportunity to create the public acceptance and infrastructure for at-home abortions.
In addition to making it easier for women to obtain abortions during the pandemic, telemedicine abortions are also a handy way for abortion groups to bypass the growing number of pro-life laws at the state level. Already, the number of medical abortions is exploding, with over 40% of all abortions in the U.S. now being performed using pills. Some abortion activists have already said that if the U.S. were to overturn Roe v. Wade, and if states then made abortion completely illegal, they would simply illegally mail abortion pills to women.
One website that mails abortion pills, Women on Web, explicitly exists just in order to mail abortion pills to women in countries where abortion is illegal!
Abortion Activists Pushing “Back Alley” Abortions
As pro-life activist Jonathon van Maren pointed out last week, it is incredible to witness abortion activists proactively pushing for women to be able to abort their children with no medical oversight whatsoever – the same activists who claim that making abortion illegal will lead to an explosion in shoddy “back alley” abortions.
While abortion activists claim that abortion drugs are “safe,” there have been many cases of women – like that young Argentinean woman – who have been seriously injured or even died after aborting with RU-486. In an open letter last year, pro-life leaders pointed out that the “abortion pill has resulted in over 4,000 reported adverse events since 2000, including 24 maternal deaths,” while also noting that such “events are notoriously underreported to the FDA,” and as of 2016, the FDA only requires abortion pill manufacturers to report maternal deaths.
Even if the abortion goes “well” (as if any act that ends a human life can go “well”!), the experience is still often deeply traumatizing. Extremely heavy bleeding, cramping and pain are common. Furthermore, women who abort at home will at some point expel the body of their child. Depending on how far along they are, or how the abortion progresses, there is always the chance that they will come face-to-face with the body of their child. With mail-obtained abortion drugs, many women will go through this experience completely alone.
It is insane that abortion organizations are pushing so-called “medical abortions” as a “pro-woman” initiative. This is not pro-woman. All it does is ensure that abortionists can continue to make a tidy profit in the middle of the pandemic with minimal effort, while exploiting women and exposing them to potential harm and traumatic experiences. This is the definition of a “back alley” abortion – and yet, this is being openly pushed for by the biggest abortion organizations.
Last spring, Planned Parenthood celebrated the increase in “telemed” abortions as a “silver lining” to the pandemic. One group of pro-life activists, however, was a first-hand witness to the dark side of this “silver lining.” Last April, the Abortion Pill Rescue Network reported that they had seen a record number of phone calls to their service, which helps women begin the process to “reverse” their medical abortions.
An abortion pill reversal involves administering doses of progesterone to women who have already begun the abortion process. If this is begun soon enough after the woman takes the first drug, there is a chance that the woman’s child can be saved.
According to the Abortion Pill Rescue Network, in March of 2020, 105 women who contacted them began the abortion reversal process! Unfortunately, the reversal process is not guaranteed to be successful. How tragic to realize that so many women are starting abortions, thinking they have no other option! We must pray for all such women, who may face a very heavy burden of guilt, if the reversal process does not work.
How to Fight Back
It is tragic that during COVID, when so much of our society’s attention is focused on saving human lives, pro-abortion activists are so focused on finding new ways to destroy life! We must do better as a society.
Fortunately, even during a Biden administration, there are things that we can do to save lives. The history of the pro-life movement has shown that we can make major advances, even during extremely pro-abortion administrations. During the Obama administration, pro-life activists got hundreds of new pro-life regulations passed at the state level.
Several states already ban abortion drugs from being prescribed via “telemedicine.” Other states are in the process of passing bans. According to Politico, these include Indiana, Arkansas, Iowa, Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and West Virginia. In Ohio, a ban was already passed, but was recently blocked by a court.
One way you can help is by finding out if there is a ban on this dangerous form of abortion in your state. If there is not, then contact your legislators to urge them to bring forward such a ban, or to support any bans that are making their way through the legislature.
Another way to help is by supporting the pro-life groups that are educating women on how to reverse medical abortions, or providing the medical care necessary to perform the reversal. Also, you can educate yourself about the abortion reversal process, so you are armed with the information you need to help any woman you might hear of who may be interested in saving the life of her child.
And finally, we must pray earnestly for the protection of human life, for individuals and families, and for society to embrace and serve life at all stages – from conception to its natural end. To this end I offer a prayer composed by Benedict XVI, encouraging it to be prayed daily.
You who faithfully visit and fulfill with your Presence
the Church and the history of men;
You who in the miraculous Sacrament of your Body and Blood
render us participants in divine Life
and allow us a foretaste of the joy of eternal Life;
We adore and bless you.
Prostrated before You, source and lover of Life,
truly present and alive among us, we beg you.
Reawaken in us respect for every unborn life,
make us capable of seeing in the fruit of the maternal womb
the miraculous work of the Creator,
open our hearts to generously welcoming every child
that comes into life.
Bless all families,
sanctify the union of spouses,
render fruitful their love.
Accompany the choices of legislative assemblies
with the light of your Spirit,
so that peoples and nations may recognize and respect
the sacred nature of life, of every human life.
Guide the work of scientists and doctors,
so that all progress contributes to the integral well-being of the person,
and no one endures suppression or injustice.
Give creative charity to administrators and economists,
so they may realize and promote sufficient conditions
so that young families can serenely embrace
the birth of new children.
Console the married couples who suffer
because they are unable to have children
and in Your goodness provide for them.
Teach us all to care for orphaned or abandoned children,
so they may experience the warmth of your Charity,
the consolation of your divine Heart.
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Father Shenan J. Boquet was ordained in 1993 and is a priest of the Houma-Thibodaux Roman Catholic Diocese in Louisiana, his home state, where he served before joining HLI as its President in August 2011. Father Boquet earned a BA from Saint Joseph Seminary College, a Master of Divinity (MDiv) from Notre Dame Seminary Graduate School of Theology, a Certification Program in Health Care Ethics from the National Catholic Bioethics Center, and a Master of Science in Bioethics (MSBe) from the University of Mary in Bismarck. In 2018, Father Boquet was awarded an honorary visiting professorship by the Benedict XVI Catholic University in Trujillo, Peru. He is available for interviews and bookings on behalf of HLI by emailing email@example.com.