Pro-life doctors have a different take on abortion pill reversal study
A study of abortion pill reversal methods that was halted due to safety concerns only further proves the dangers of drug-induced abortions, pro-life advocates and obstetricians say.
Twelve women enrolled in a University of California, Davis, study took mifepristone, also known as Mifeprex, the first pill in a two-drug regimen to end the baby’s life and send the mother in labor. Researchers gave half of the women a placebo and the other half progesterone, a hormone that has been shown to reverse the effects of mifepristone, saving the unborn baby’s life.
Three of the 12 women in the study experienced hemorrhaging and required ambulance transport to a hospital, according to study results published this month in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology. The study’s authors, who have ties to the abortion industry, intended to enroll 40 women, but they concluded it was too risky to proceed. The researchers blamed the women’s hemorrhaging on their failure to complete the two-step abortion process by taking misoprostol, a drug intended to induce labor.
But Donna Harrison, executive director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, called that conclusion “misleading” and “pure speculation.” She is still analyzing the report but said if anything it proves that mifepristone, not progesterone, puts women at greater risk of hemorrhaging.
Two of the three women who experienced heavy bleeding had taken mifepristone with a placebo. They had to have emergency surgical abortions and blood transfusions. The other woman, one of five who took mifepristone and progesterone, delivered her unviable baby without requiring surgery or a blood transfusion. The remaining four patients who took progesterone had viable pregnancies two weeks later.
All the women who participated in the study intended to abort their babies, either chemically or surgically, regardless of the outcome.
“While this study represents a small number of women, it shows the high success rate of progesterone––80 percent––in reversing the effects of mifepristone,” Harrison said. “It also shows how extremely foolish and dangerous it is to take this drug without medical supervision.”
Drug-induced abortions accounted for 39 percent of all abortions in the United States in 2017, according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute. Supporters tout it as a safe and easy alternative to surgical abortion.
Harrison said that is far from the truth.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported 4,195 complications experienced by women who took mifepristone between 2000 and 2018, including 1,042 hospitalizations, 599 blood transfusions, 412 infections—including uterine lining infection, pelvic inflammatory disease, and sepsis—and 24 deaths. Additionally, 97 women who had ectopic pregnancies took the drug.
Similarly, a 2009 study in Finland of 42,619 women who had abortions showed that chemical abortions led to a 20 percent chance of complications, while surgical abortions had a 5.6 percent chance. Yet pro-abortion advocates want to make abortion pills available over the counter.
Pro-life groups are working to inform women of the risks as the abortion pill becomes more prevalent, especially on college campuses. California recently became the first state to require all public universities to offer abortion pills to students.
The Charlotte Lozier Institute started a website with statistics and personal accounts. “The mantra is pop a pill and it’s over,” one woman says in a video on the site. “No one counseled me or told me what the risks were.”
Meanwhile, the abortion pill reversal protocol has saved more than 900 babies, according to Heartbeat International. The method, developed by physicians George Delgado and Matthew Harrison in 2007, involves administering progesterone to a woman up to 72 hours after she has taken mifepristone. About 65 percent of women who followed the protocol were able to give birth to a baby without any apparent increased risk of birth defects, according to a study Delgado released last year.
A newly assigned judge tasked with deciding whether a Texas hospital can remove a 10-month-old girl from life support against her mother’s wishes has granted her family more time to find a different hospital for her.
Tinslee Lewis has been at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth since her premature birth last February. The hospital has sought to invoke the state’s “10-day rule,” a law triggered when a family and doctors disagree about ending a patient’s life-sustaining care. If the hospital cannot find a new facility to care for the patient within 10 days, then doctors can end the patient’s life support with approval from the facility’s ethics committee.
A previous judge granted the family a temporary restraining order against the hospital in November. On Thursday, Fourth Court of Appeals Chief Justice Sandee Bryan Marion said she would decide on Jan. 2 whether the hospital could remove life support. She granted the family an extension because she thought they could find a new facility for Tinslee and because she needed more time to research the case. The court removed the previous judge when lawyers for the hospital complained he had sidestepped procedure to get assigned to the case. Cook Children’s Medical Center and the family agreed that if Marion rules to stop life support, the hospital will wait seven days to take any action.
Tinslee has a rare heart defect and suffers from chronic lung disease and severe chronic high blood pressure. Since July, she has required full respiratory and cardiac support, deep sedation, and medical paralysis. Doctors say she is suffering and in pain.
But Trinity Lewis, Tinslee’s mother, said that despite her sedation she has likes and dislikes, squeezes her hand, smiles at her favorite nurses, and enjoys the animated movie Trolls, crying when it ends. “I want to be the one to make the decision for her,” Lewis said about stopping Tinslee’s life support.
Hospital officials said they have asked more than 20 facilities to take Tinslee under their care, but they all agreed that further treatment is futile. Texas Right to Life, a pro-life group that opposes the “10-day rule,” is among the advocates for Tinslee that have been attempting to find a hospital willing to take her. —M.J.
Across the nation
Missouri: The Missouri Supreme Court will hear arguments this week over whether the state can block its funding to Planned Parenthood. The state attorney general’s office argues lawmakers acted within their budgeting authority to strip the abortion giant of taxpayer money. Missouri has 12 Planned Parenthood facilities but only one that performs abortions. That facility is battling state regulators to stay open despite numerous health violations that have put women at risk.
New York: State lawmakers are considering a bill that forces State University of New York schools to provide the abortion pill to students. The proposed law creates a fund drawing from taxpayers and private donors to finance the endeavor. Democratic Assemblyman Harvey Epstein authored the bill, saying he wanted to make abortion accessible to students with “busy schedules.”
Mississippi: A federal appeals court on Friday struck down the state’s law protecting infants from abortion for up to 15 weeks of gestation. Outgoing Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican, vowed to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the law. “We will sustain our efforts to fight for America’s unborn children,” Bryant said on Twitter. “Mississippi will continue this mission to the United States Supreme Court.” Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, also a pro-life advocate, is set to succeed Bryant in January. —M.J.
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