Supreme Court May Restrict Dangerous Abortion Pill

New data released by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute have revealed that the number of so-called “medical abortions” seems to have risen…again.

Medical abortions, of course, aren’t “medical” at all. The term “medical” is derived from a Latin word that means “to heal.” And abortion heals nothing. Instead, it only takes, kills one life, and leaves the mother physically and spiritually wounded.

However, the term is used by pro-abortion activists as a euphemism for an abortion that is performed by the ingestion of two drugs—mifepristone and misoprostol—rather than a surgical procedure in a doctor’s office.

Such abortions hit the top of the news last year, when pop star Britney Spears revealed that she and Justin Timberlake had aborted their child in such a procedure, which Spears described as the most “agonizing thing I have ever experienced in my life.”

Unfortunately, stories like Spears’ are becoming increasingly common. The percentage of all abortions that are drug-induced, rather than surgical, has been rising steadily ever since the year 2000, when the two-drug abortion regimen was first approved by the FDA.

In 2023, reports the Guttmacher Institute, there were a total of 642,700 such abortions, accounting for some 63% of all abortions in the United States. This marks a jump of a full 10% of all abortions in just three years.


The Strategy Behind Abortion Pill Expansion 

The Guttmacher Institute is clearly thrilled by the rapid increase in so-called “medical abortions.” As they state, “Medication abortion has proven to be a game changer in expanding abortion care in the United States.”

They aren’t wrong.

The shift from surgical to drug-induced abortions has been part of a long-standing, deliberate pro-abortion strategy. The goal has been to ensure that preborn children can be aborted as quickly and easily as possible, including in locations or states where abortion is illegal.

As the pro-life movement grew in strength and popularity during the early 2000s, pro-abortion organizations openly strategized about how they would prioritize access to and normalize drug-induced abortions. The ultimate goal? To ensure that even if Roe v. Wade was overturned, or if the number of abortion facilities continued to drop, women could obtain abortion drugs through the mail (illegally, if need be).

The Covid-19 pandemic was a watershed moment in their effort to execute this strategy. In the midst of the lockdowns, pro-abortion organizations furiously lobbied governments and regulators to ease restrictions on drug-induced abortions, as an “emergency” measure.

When the FDA originally approved the abortion drug process, they required that women go to an abortionist’s office for an in-person consultation prior to receiving a prescription for the drugs that would kill their preborn child. However, the agency “temporarily” lifted that requirement during Covid lockdowns. As a result, women could simply have a remote conversation with an abortionist, receive a prescription, and then have the drugs mailed to them.

In short order, however, the FDA took this temporary emergency measure and made it permanent. This allows women in any state where abortion is legal to obtain abortion drugs with almost no effort, and minimal medical oversight.

This was a huge victory for the pro-abortion movement. And this is where things stand today.


Supreme Court May Restrict Abortion Pill

At the same time, pro-abortion organizations are terrified that their victory will be short-lived. On March 26 (i.e., tomorrow) the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case that could have drastic impacts on the availability of abortion-inducing drugs in the United States.

The case that the U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing was brought forward by the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine. The organization sued the FDA for, in the words of their legal representatives, “unlawfully removing crucial safety standards for pregnant women who use the abortion drugs mifepristone and misoprostol.”

If the pro-life doctors are successful, then the U.S. Supreme Court would reinstate many of the original safeguards on the drugs. In particular, the Court could ban so-called “telemed” abortions, and require in-person follow-up care.

Guttmacher’s director of federal policy, Amy Friedrich-Karnik, complained in a statement that, “Reinstating outdated and medically unnecessary restrictions on the provision of mifepristone would negatively impact people’s lives and decrease abortion access across the country.”

However, as pro-life organizations have meticulously documented, not only are the abortion drugs not nearly as “safe” as abortion advocates paint them out to be, but every “medical” abortion results in a dead preborn child. In other words, no abortion is “safe” for the preborn child. For this reason alone, the abortion drugs should be completely banned.

Unfortunately, even should the U.S. Supreme Court rule favorably for the pro-life doctors, this will not produce a ban on drug-induced abortions. At best it will re-instate some common-sense safety regulations to protect women. This will hopefully encourage more women to choose life rather than a risky, traumatic abortion that will kill their preborn child.

“The FDA betrayed women and girls when it removed the necessary in-person doctor visits that protected women’s health and well-being,” stated Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Erin Hawley recently. “The FDA’s own label for abortion drugs says that roughly one in 25 women who take them will end up in the emergency room. Yet the government continues to defend its reckless actions that jeopardize women’s health and safety.”


Data Shows Abortion Increase…Or Does It?

Recently, the Guttmacher Institute also released data claiming that the total number of abortions in the United States increased last year.

If this claim is true, that would indicate that a troubling trend that began in 2019 is continuing. In the United States, the total number of abortions had been in free-fall ever since the late 1980s, dropping from a high of about 1.6 million abortions, to a low of 885,000 in 2018.

However, in 2019, this decades-long trend reversed, and the number of abortions began to climb. Each year since has seen a slight uptick. According to the Guttmacher Institute, there were some 1,026,690 abortions in 2023.

Many pro-life activists hoped and believed that the numbers would fall in 2023, due to the reversal of Roe, and the fact that many states had made abortion mostly, or completely illegal. And indeed, some well-versed pro-life experts are unconvinced by the Institute’s claim that the number of abortions increased again in 2023.

Michael New is arguably the country’s leading pro-life expert on abortion-related data and statistics. As he notes in an article in the National Review, the Guttmacher Institute’s data used to arrive at the 2023 number is less complete than some of the Institute’s other data, and results in an estimate that may not be reliable.

“I would encourage pro-lifers to consider these new data with some degree of skepticism,” he writes.

New also pointed out several statistical analyses that have found increased numbers of births in states that have legalized abortion, such as Texas. The Texas analyses found that the state’s Heartbeat Law was saving over 1,000 lives a month, even taking into account instances in which pregnant mothers might have travelled to neighboring pro-abortion states to have their preborn children aborted.

“Enacting strong legal protections for preborn children is still a worthwhile policy goal for pro-lifers,” New concludes.


Overturning Roe was Just the First Step

With all that said, however, the recent abortion numbers do underline something that I have been insisting on ever since Roe was overturned. That is, even though overturning Roe was a hard-win, a generationally-important victory for the pro-life cause, we cannot act as if the war has been won.

Overturning Roe was only ever the first step in the American battle to reverse the historic wrong of legalizing abortion. Overturning Roe only had the effect of returning the abortion issue to the individual states. But with so many states (including the most populous states in the union) being so virulently pro-abortion, the legalized slaughter would continue unabated in many parts of the country.

Indeed, in more than a few cases there has been a violent backlash to the overturning of Roe, with some pro-abortion states like New York taking their already diabolically liberal abortion laws, and even further liberalizing them. And then, of course, there are the concerted efforts by well-funded abortion organizations, as well as the Biden administration, to find ways to pay for women to travel to pro-abortion states to have their preborn children aborted.


How to Save Lives Post-Roe

In the face of such a diabolical commitment to the cause of abortion, pro-life activists must maintain a resilient and creative commitment to going the extra mile to discover new and ever-more-effective ways of protecting human life.

As I have often suggested, this effort must include not only heroic efforts to pass pro-life, abortion-banning laws, but also creative efforts to encourage and help women in crisis pregnancies to welcome life. This can and should involve efforts by governments to fund things like maternity care and leave and to provide other practical resources to support couples in their endeavor to welcome life.

This was the focus of some recent remarks by Pope Francis. Speaking during his weekly Angelus on Sunday, March 10, the Holy Father said that “Institutions, social and political, have the fundamental duty to protect and promote the dignity of every human being, offering women, the bearers of life, the necessary conditions to be able to accept the gift of life and ensure a dignified existence for their children.”


A Special Prayer for the Day of the Unborn Child

In the midst of the ongoing assault against preborn human life, and in light of the troubling data from the Guttmacher Institute on medical abortions, it is appropriate that we take a moment to pray for renewed commitment and inspiration on this year’s Day of the Unborn Child, which we celebrate today!

The Day of the Unborn Child was instituted to coincide with the great Catholic solemnity of the Feast of the Annunciation, on March 25. On this day, we recall the visit of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary, informing her of God’s extraordinary plan for her. With her fiat (“let it be done!”) Mary gave her consent to the angel’s message. With that, God Himself became incarnate in the womb of the Virgin Mary.

The Annunciation by Philippe de Champaigne

The Annunciation by Philippe de Champaigne

From the first moments of his earthly existence within the womb of His mother, Christ was a unique, living human being—albeit one in which the dual natures of God and Man were united in a union that theologians have termed the “hypostatic union.” However, the reality that God could become incarnate in the form of an embryo, undergoing the normal processes of human development, has forever underlined the enormous dignity of every human child, including those in the earliest stages of their development.

On March 25, 1995, Pope St. John Paul II released his monumental pro-life encyclical Evangelium vitae. He concluded that encyclical with a prayer. Today, why not take a moment to pray this prayer, asking for the conviction, commitment, and profound openness to God’s will needed to turn our culture around, and ensure that every person is respected, loved, and defended from conception to natural death?

Pray in particular for the proceedings at the U.S. Supreme Court, which begin tomorrow, and which could either result in many lives saved, or many more lives lost, to the barbaric abortion drugs and abortion industry.

O Mary,
bright dawn of the new world,
Mother of the living,
to you do we entrust the cause of life.

Look down, O Mother,
upon the vast numbers
of babies not allowed to be born,
of the poor whose lives are made difficult,
of men and women
who are victims of brutal violence,
of the elderly and the sick killed
by indifference or out of misguided mercy.

Grant that all who believe in your Son
may proclaim the Gospel of life
with honesty and love
to the people of our time.

 Obtain for them the grace
to accept that Gospel
as a gift ever new,
the joy of celebrating it with gratitude
throughout their lives
and the courage to bear witness to it
resolutely, in order to build,
together with all people of good will,
the civilization of truth and love,
to the praise and glory of God,
the Creator and lover of life.

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.

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  1. rita elsner on March 25, 2024 at 7:48 PM

    Thank for your mail,

    My parish bulletin and calendar did not mention March 25 as the feast of the Annunciation of Mary, neither if the Feast Day is celebrated to another day.
    Very strange. I went to Mass this morning and did not find it in the Lenten Missal either. I always knew about this feast, but this year forgot it. Therefore many thanks for bringing this up.

  2. Dan Olson on March 25, 2024 at 3:38 PM

    Inside every pregnant mother there is a human being whose life is worthy of protection.

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