Activists’ New International Campaign: Abortion Drug “Saves Lives”

International   |   Wendy Wright   |   May 27, 2013   |   11:05AM   |   Washington, DC

Abortion groups’ plan to get the abortion-causing drug misoprostol widely used for post-partum bleeding has run into roadblocks. People in the targeted areas know what they’re up to, and the message that “misoprostol saves lives” is hyperbole intended to influence policymakers.

Leaders of this campaign gave an update at a seminar held in conjunction with the Women Deliver conference. While they agree with medical authorities that another drug, oxytocin, is the “gold standard” to treat hemorrhaging after birth, they want countries to adopt misoprostol into their national clinical guidelines.

But this is being resisted, mainly by religious leaders, who are concerned misoprostol will be “re-purposed for abortion,” said Ann Starrs, president of Family Care International.

She did not mock this belief. She couldn’t – because abortion groups have publicly advertised for women to use misoprostol in countries where abortion is unavailable or illegal. As reported in the Friday Fax, one group boasted of opening a clinic in Tanzania which “is not a health organization — it focuses on advocacy and women’s rights,” to dispense misoprostol for abortion.

Starrs’ suggestions to counter this resistance is to enlist medical professionals to be the voice for the campaign, and to come up with better messaging. “Evidence based information,” that is, studies designed for advocacy, should be distributed. And secure commitments from governments and others to include misoprostol in their budgets.

An audience member challenged the presenters that they “need a bit of honesty.” The message that “misoprostol saves lives” isn’t true. It will create a false assurance that will backfire when women still die after using the drug.

Surprisingly, Beverly Winikoff — a presenter and long-time activist for medical abortions — conceded, “We don’t know if it saves lives.” It could be other interventions taken in addition to misoprostol that are actually helping women.

Put on the spot, Ann Starrs, whose specialty is advocacy, admitted the slogan “misoprostol saves lives” is misleading. “The attention span of policy makers mean we need some hyperbole,” she stated.

At this, the moderator ended the seminar – 10 minutes early – because, he said, they had run out of time.

LifeNews Note: Wendy Wright writes for the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. This article originally appeared in the pro-life group’s Turtle Bay and Beyond blog and is used with permission.