It’s becoming more and more clear that abortion advocates don’t want pregnant women to have a “choice,” they want women to abort their unborn babies.
Lately, they have been viciously attacking a pioneer medical procedure that gives pregnant women another option – an abortion pill reversal procedure. Standing in the way of medical progress, they are fighting against efforts to research the procedure and new state laws that inform women of the possibility.
The abortion pill reversal procedure has successfully reversed the effects of the abortion pill, RU-486, and saved hundreds unborn babies’ lives, according to the doctors who developed the method. Dr. Matthew Harrison performed the first-ever abortion pill reversal in 2007. Harrison said the baby who was saved is now a healthy 9-year-old girl. Since 2007, Harrison and a team of doctors set up a hotline and trained a network of about 300 doctors across the world. The group reported more than 213 babies have been saved since 2007.
But abortion activists are trying to discredit it. In a column for the Daily Beast, pro-abortion journalist Samantha Allen attacked Louisiana lawmakers who passed a resolution this week urging the state Department of Health to research the abortion pill reversal method.
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Apparently, this new option for pregnant women isn’t even worth researching. Allen and her fellow abortion advocates want to push it under the rug without giving it any reasonable consideration. Why? Because this is a choice that women aren’t supposed to have.
Allen blasted the abortion pill reversal technology as “scary bogus science” and criticized the Louisiana lawmakers for encouraging research on it. Yet, Allen never mentioned that, based on her own research, the abortion pill RU486 is not always effective, and it is possible that a woman can change her mind after taking the pill and take actions to help save her baby’s life. She wrote:
In recent years, the rise of medical abortion has led some anti-abortion activists and lawmakers to claim that the process can be reversed with an emergency treatment after the first pill. But even if they succeed at turning that myth into law, the truth is that science is not on their side.
… [Abortion Pill Reversal] claims this treatment is successful in a slight majority of cases, with pregnancies ending anyway 45 percent of the time. But even if APR’s reported success rate is true, that’s still not proof that the emergency progesterone injection is doing the trick.
As the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) notes, mifepristone alone is often insufficient to induce an abortion (PDF). There is a reason, after all, that there are two pills involved in a standard medical abortion. In up to 50 percent of cases, ACOG reports, a woman’s pregnancy will continue even after taking the first pill.
That means that groups like APR can claim to be “reversing” abortions in cases where pregnancies are simply continuing as they normally would. Simply put, it would be akin to taking credit for a coin flip.
Or, as ACOG observed, “Available research seems to indicate that in the rare situation where a woman takes mifepristone and then changes her mind, doing nothing and waiting to see what happens is just as effective as intervening with a course of progesterone.”
There is one 2012 study on the use of progesterone after mifepristone and before misoprostol. It is frequently cited by abortion opponents. But the study included only six cases and it was not, as ACOG points out, a “controlled study.” Its lead author is none other than George Delgado, the aforementioned medical director of APR.
After medical experts critiqued his study, Delgado told ThinkProgress that he has since had a 55 to 60 percent success rate with roughly 200 women. He has made similar estimates in other interviews but still, there is no peer-reviewed proof.
Not only is “abortion reversal” scientifically unproven, it is not FDA-approved and possibly dangerous. As ACOG notes: “Progesterone, while generally well tolerated, can cause significant cardiovascular, nervous system and endocrine adverse reactions as well as other side effects” (PDF).
As currently administered, a chemical abortion involves taking the drug mifepristone (RU-486), which makes the uterus inhospitable to new life and starves the baby by blocking the hormone progesterone. One or two days later, a second drug is taken to induce contractions and expel her child. The reversal process, which is becoming more widely known, can reverse the impact of the first drug and allow the baby to continue normal development by giving women doses of progesterone to counteract the abortion pill.
Time is of the essence, though, in starting the reversal process. The sooner the reversal treatment begins the more likely it is that the baby’s life can be saved, according to the Abortion Pill Reversal website.
Though the technology is new, early results show it appears to be safe for mother and child. The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which supports the new procedure, reported in a practice bulletin that the abortion pill reversal treatment has not led to birth defects.
In April, South Dakota became the third state to require abortion facilities to tell women about the possibility that chemical abortions can be reversed, following Arkansas and Arizona.
Certainly, pro-lifers agree that medical procedures should be researched and tested to ensure that they are safe for all patients involved. APR doctors do inform women of the potential risks of the procedure.
But abortion activists like Allen do not seem interested in exploring this new possibility for pregnant women, by supporting research and education. They are more interested in suppressing this potentially life-saving technology and pushing abortion instead.