The Horrors of the Abortion Pill and the Hope of Reversal
One of the most troubling trends in recent years has been the rapid growth of so-called “medical abortions.” These are abortions that are committed not with surgical instruments, but rather by means of two abortion drugs, which are often taken by mothers at home, far from medical supervision.
The two drugs involved in a medical abortion are mifepristone and misoprostol. During a medical abortion, a woman first takes mifepristone, which mimics the natural hormone progesterone by binding to progesterone receptors in the uterus. In doing so, the drug causes natural progesterone levels in the woman’s body to drop to dangerous levels. The result is that the newly implanted child starves to death and detaches from the uterus. Next, the woman takes misoprostol, which causes contractions of the uterus, thus expelling the dead child and completing the abortion.
Research by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, formerly the research arm of Planned Parenthood, has revealed that medical abortions now constitute over 50% of all abortions in the United States. And abortion groups are proactively seeking to increase that proportion, by heavily advocating in favor of medical abortions.
Advocates Use Pandemic to Push At-Home Abortions
This advocacy was heavily accelerated during the pandemic. As I have reported in the past, abortion organizations cynically used interruptions to medical services during the pandemic to push for massive loosening of regulations on access to abortion drugs. Prior to the pandemic, it was typically required that a pregnant woman meet personally with a doctor to obtain a prescription for the abortion drugs, and to make a second visit after the abortion was completed for a check-up.
However, during the pandemic, abortion groups lobbied for—and obtained—relaxations of the regulations, such that women could simply “meet” with a doctor over a virtual call, and then have the abortion drugs shipped to them through the mail. Thus, they could go through the entire abortion process without ever having stepped foot into a doctor’s office or physically seen a medical professional. This is called a “telemedicine” abortion.
However, for years prior to the pandemic, abortion organizations had plotted ways to increase the proportion of medical abortions. One of the main reasons for doing so, is that they recognized that the pro-life movement in America had major momentum, and that it may only be a matter of time before Roe v. Wade was reversed. With many states restricting abortion, it would be far easier—they reasoned—to get around abortion restrictions if obtaining an abortion was as simple as ordering (perhaps illegally) a couple of pills over the Internet and taking them at home.
Dangers of Medical Abortion
Rarely discussed by these so-called “pro-woman” abortion organizations, however, are the dangers and trauma experienced by the hundreds of thousands of women who have undergone so-called “medical abortions.”
These kinds of abortions received unwanted (for pro-abortion advocates) attention recently, when the pop superstar Britney Spears revealed that she had aborted the child she conceived while dating fellow pop star Justin Timberlake, after Timberlake pressured her into doing so. Worried about the publicity should news of the abortion leak, Spears opted for a medical abortion at home.
The process, Spears wrote in her recently released autobiography, was the most “agonizing thing I have ever experienced in my life.” “If it had been left up to me alone, I never would have done it,” she added. “And yet Justin was so sure that he didn’t want to be a father.” “I kept crying and sobbing until it was all over,” she continued. “It took hours, and I don’t remember how it ended, but I do, twenty years later, remember the pain of it, and the fear.”
While pro-abortion organizations routinely tout medical abortions as “safe,” the reality is that numerous women recount horrifying experiences of medical abortions. Because the abortion drugs are typically taken at home, women often undergo these experiences alone, without anyone with medical expertise close at hand.
Horror Stories from Women Who Took the Abortion Pill
One pro-life organization is about to submit a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in relation to a pending case (more about that in a moment), which recounts the first-hand stories of thousands of women who underwent medical abortions.
“What they failed to tell me was what was going to truly happen, the intense cramping, the bleeding, the large pieces of bloody tissue I would pass, the nausea, the weakness,” one woman recounts. “I thought I was going to die there all alone. I was sure I needed medical attention, but I was afraid of the exposure of what I had done.”
Many women relate the traumatizing experience of expelling the bodies of their babies, and coming face-to-face with the reality of what an abortion is—the reality that their doctors and pro-abortion organizations have hidden from them with euphemistic language referring to a “blob of tissue” or “ending a pregnancy.” Instead, these women were forced, under horrific circumstances, to deal with the reality that that “blob of tissue” was in fact a recognizable human child.
“I took the second pill while laying on my bed, expecting some mild menstrual cramps as they had told me. That’s not what it was at all – I experienced very intense, painful cramps as my body expelled my baby’s body into the toilet,” another woman writes in the brief. “My baby was disposed of in a toilet. A toilet. I wish so much now that I would’ve taken the remains of that precious little body and buried it.”
Allan Parker, the president of the Justice Foundation, which is filing the brief, tells of one conversation with a woman who was “sobbing uncontrollably.” “They lied to me!” she screamed. “They said it wasn’t a baby! This is a baby! I can see the hands and legs! Can I bury my baby in the backyard?”
U.S. Supreme Court May Restrict Abortion Pill
Just this past week, however, we received news of one of the most significant developments in relation to the abortion pill in decades. This is that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that could (if it goes the right way) lead to the significant restriction of these dangerous drugs. On the other hand, if the High Court sides with the pro-abortion side, it could result with the abortion drugs being more available than ever before.
The case is finally ending up at the U.S. Supreme Court, after a series of decisions and stays at lower courts. The case followed on the heels of the Biden Administration’s decision during the pandemic to loosen requirements for accessing the abortion drugs, allowing doctors to prescribe them over video conference calls, and for women to then obtain them through the mail.
After the Biden administration announced this policy, several pro-life medical groups sued to prevent it from going into effect. In fact, the groups went further, challenging the FDA’s original approval of the abortion drugs in 2000, claiming that the FDA failed to take into account the significant safety concerns with the abortion drugs.
In the end, after a series of different courts intervened in the matter, the abortion drugs have remained available in the United States. However, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decided to suspend the Biden Administration’s policy allowing so-called “telemedicine” abortions. In other words, the court maintained the old policy of requiring women to make in-office visits to doctors to obtain a prescription for the drugs.
Now the case has landed at the U.S. Supreme Court. Sometime over the next few months, the highest court in the land will hear arguments in the case. The potential implications are massive: if the Court decides to allow telemedicine abortions to continue, they will play into the hands of abortion activists, who are desperate to make abortion as easy and widely available as possible, to counteract the Court’s decision to reverse Roe v. Wade.
If, however, they side with the pro-life doctors, abortion drugs could be heavily restricted, potentially saving tens of thousands of lives—mothers and their children. Please keep this intention in your prayers.
Abortion Pill Reversal Saves Lives
Although many women are now opting for medical abortions, one of the best-kept secrets is that there is hope for women who begin the medical abortion process, but then regret their decision.
Typically, there is a two-day period between the start of the medical abortion, when the woman takes the first abortion drug, and the completion of the abortion. What some pro-life doctors have realized is that it is possible to counteract the effects of the first abortion drug, mifepristone.
As noted above, mifepristone mimics the natural hormone progesterone. By binding to the progesterone receptors, it tricks the body into thinking that it has adequate progesterone. The result is that the newly implanted baby starves to death and detaches from the mother’s uterus. However, pro-life doctors have developed a protocol involving shots of natural progesterone, thus assisting the woman’s body to maintain the life of her child, and ultimately give birth to a healthy child.
Using this protocol, known as the “abortion pill reversal” procedure, pro-life doctors have successfully saved the preborn children of women who have already begun the abortion process. Studies from hundreds of successful mifepristone reversals show that the reversal success rates were 68% with a high-dose oral progesterone protocol, and 64% with an injected progesterone protocol. There was no increased risk of birth defects or preterm births.
Unfortunately, as the abortion pill reversal process has become better known, abortion extremists have begun to target the procedure. One state, Colorado, has even passed a law banning doctors from discussing abortion pill reversal, based upon an utterly tendentious reading of a single study. Meanwhile, the state of California is suing two pro-life organizations for publicizing the reversal process.
Women Need to Know About Abortion Pill Reversal
It is truly appalling just how committed to abortion so many abortion activists are. They cannot even bear the thought that women who regret starting the abortion process might have the choice to attempt to save the life of their preborn child. These allegedly “pro-choice” activists have instead clamped down on the only ray of hope left for women who, often under immense pressure, began the abortion, but then realized that they wish to keep their child.
As pro-abortion groups continue to push medical abortions, it is critical that pro-life advocates and healthcare providers be aware of the abortion pill reversal. If a pro-life doctor is contacted by a woman who has begun the abortion process, he or she should know precisely what to do. The American Associate of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (APPLOG) provides guidance and assistance to doctors. And we must, must, must vociferously oppose any further efforts to ban the abortion pill reversal process. Lives depend upon it. Women’s lives, and their children’ lives.
Nothing “Medical” About Abortion
So-called “medical” abortions are, at root, a misnomer. There is nothing “medical” about an abortion. It is a grotesque perversion of medicine. That so-called “medical” researchers have used their intelligence and skills to find drugs that take the life of preborn children is a violation of everything the medical profession is supposed to stand for.
Meanwhile, the pro-life doctors who are using their knowledge and training to creatively find ways to save the lives of preborn children who are minutes away from a drug-induced death, are living out the Hippocratic Oath’s commitment to “do no harm.”
In the meantime, let us pray for the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, that they will have the courage to recognize that there is nothing “safe” about the abortion pill, which always takes a life, and harms the mother.
As president of Human Life International, Fr. Boquet is a leading expert on the international pro-life and family movement, having journeyed to nearly 90 countries on pro-life missions over the last decade. Father Boquet works with pro-life and family leaders in 116 counties that partner with HLI to proclaim and advance the Gospel of Life. Read his full bio here.