One of abortion activists’ most repeated arguments is that women will resort to dangerous back alley and self-induced abortion attempts if abortion becomes illegal.
But now, abortion activists are pushing these abortions themselves. They claim that they are doing it in the name of women’s rights, but they give little heed to the life-threatening risks for both mother and unborn child.
During the National Right to Life Convention in Virginia, NRLC’s Education and Research Director Randall K. O’Bannon and Hispanic Outreach Director Raimundo Rojas explained how the abortion activists are pushing do-it-yourself (DIY) abortions and legislation allowing non-doctors to do abortions.
O’Bannon called DIY abortions “the new reality.”
Do-it-yourself abortions are being pushed both in the U.S. and abroad, and the abortion drug RU-486, or misoprostol, is the main way it’s being done, O’Bannon explained. RU-486 was first approved in France in 1988; since then, a number of other countries have approved it, including the U.S. in 2000.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new protocol for RU-486 that allows it to be used more expansively and cheaply, he said.
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O’Bannon said the new protocol no longer requires that the abortion drug be administered under the supervision of a physician; instead, it uses the more loose term “certified health care provider.” The new protocols likely will result in greater profits for the abortion industry and more risks to women’s health, O’Bannon said.
Before too long, he predicted that the U.S. could see an open push to make the abortion drug available over the counter. O’Bannon said he already has heard some talk about it.
States already are seeing Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups trying to remove the doctor from the abortion equation, O’Bannon said. In three states, Planned Parenthood abortion facilities are doing dangerous webcam abortions where the woman never sees or is examined by a doctor in person before she receives the abortion drugs. And California legislators passed a law in 2013 allowing nurse practitioners and midwives to do abortions.
Four states also are participating in a new study where women are sent the abortion drugs through the mail, O’Bannon said.
All of these factors add up to more physical and psychological risks for women and more deaths of their unborn babies. The abortion drug RU-486 has a high complication rate. A U.S. Food and Drug Administration report linked the drug to the deaths of at least 14 women in the U.S. and dozens more worldwide. In the April 2011 report, the FDA found that 2,207 women in the U.S. were injured after taking the drug.
The risks could be even higher for women in other countries.
The pro-abortion group Women on Waves is one of the main groups that targets women in countries where abortion is illegal. The group sells and mails the illegal abortion drugs to women but does not provide any in-person medical supervision. The group claims the drugs are safe, but there really is no way of knowing that.
The women who request the drugs may be poor and from rural areas where they do not have access to medical care if something goes wrong, O’Bannon said. And if they suffer complications, there is no one from the pro-abortion group there to help them or report the problem.
O’Bannon showed one ad from the pro-abortion group that read, “Abortion pills: A gift from God.” He said the pro-abortion group does ask the women about their age and any possible health risks, but it still processes the requests even if they are very young (O’Bannon tried age 16 on the form) or answer “yes” to health problems like heart disease and high blood pressure.
Abortion drugs are not the only way abortion activists are pushing do-it-yourself abortions. Rojas shared a shocking discovery he made during a United Nations Conference on the Child in 2003. At a side event organized by a pro-abortion group, Rojas said he and a friend watched as abortion activists demonstrated a new do-it-yourself abortion device.
Rojas said there was a CPR-like dummy on the table with its feet in stirrups. The presenter showed them a 1-foot-long plastic container, and then opened it to reveal several parts: The first section was a long tube with a very sharp, plastic curette at the end, the second section was a wide pump mechanism, and the last piece was a tube.
Rojas said the presenter put the parts together and explained that it was a manual vacuum aspiration machine (MVA) – “an actual, do-it-yourself at home abortion.” The woman demonstrated on the dummy, inserting the device into the model’s vagina, releasing the pump and allowing it to fill up with “red, icky stuff,” Rojas recalled.
The people in attendance “were cheering ‘yay,’” Rojas said. “We were shaken.”
He said the UN began sending the plastic abortion devices around the world as part of their “care packages” to refugees during the Kosovo conflict. Each one costs about $49. The DIY abortion devices are deceptively labeled “menses regulators,” but “everyone knew what these were for, wink, wink,” he said.
“Imagine women without access to running water, 911-type emergency calls, antibiotics — these are the women who are dying,” Rojas said. “Imagine situations where one woman used an MVA properly [to abort her baby], and holds onto it and later gives to neighbor. Was it cleaned? Who knows?”
In Uruguay, children were being used to carry and deliver abortion drugs into indigenous communities, too, he said.
“That’s … the real world. It’s happening, it’s been happening, and it’s getting worse,” Rojas said. “Tragically, we are losing more children and losing moms as well.”