Many in the media are increasingly referring to abortion pills as “medication” – but their terminology couldn’t be further from the truth. That’s because the purpose of medicine is to save lives. The purpose of abortion is to end them.
The most recent example came when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that women may temporarily receive the drug mifepristone – the first of two pills in a chemical abortion – by mail. The news comes months after the Supreme Court granted the FDA’s previous request to reinstate a federal requirement that says women must obtain it from a health care provider in person. Now, the FDA will halt enforcing this requirement during the pandemic. In their reports, outlets from the New York Times to Teen Vogue referred to mifepristone as “medication.”
In order to distinguish from surgical abortion, many in the media already use “medication abortion,” “medical abortion,” or “chemical abortion” to describe an abortion administered by pill. But only recently have major outlets begun switching the words around to use phrases such as “abortion medication” to call abortion itself a type of medicine.
But abortion – whether surgical or non-surgical – always ends at least one life.
Five years ago, an obstetrician-gynecologist who once performed more than 1,200 abortions partnered with pro-life group Live Action to detail abortion procedures. According to Dr. Anthony Levatino, medical or chemical abortion is administered up to 10 weeks in pregnancy and consists of “two steps.”
First, “the woman takes pills which contain mifepristone,” or RU-486, he began. RU-486 blocks the hormone progesterone and causes the “lining of the mother’s uterus” to break down, “cutting off blood and nourishment to the baby.”
A day or two later, the woman takes misoprostol or Cytotec. Together, he continued, RU-486 and misoprostol “cause severe cramping, contractions, and often heavy bleeding to force the dead baby out of the woman’s uterus.”
“The process can be very intense and painful,” he warned, “and the bleeding and contractions can last for a few hours to several days.” Most often, he said, the woman will “sit on a toilet as she prepares to expel the child which she will then flush.”
This description didn’t come across in the latest reports about the FDA’s move. Instead, media figures called this type of abortion a “medication” that ends “pregnancies.”
To begin with, New York Times health and science writer Pam Belluck described mifepristone as being a part of “abortion through medication.”
“Abortion through medication, first approved by the F.D.A. in 2000, is increasingly becoming women’s preferred method for terminating a pregnancy,” Belluck reported on April 13.
In light of the FDA’s decision, Marie Claire published an interview with Dr. Jamie Phifer, the founder of Abortion on Demand. Writer Susan Rinkunas described Phifer’s organization with a flurry of euphemisms.
It is a “new telemedicine site,” she wrote on April 13, that promises to “help people who want to end their pregnancies with pills.”
Phifer herself used the word “medication”: “The whole process, from deciding that you want to proceed and getting your medication, should be between two and a half to five days.”
Likewise, a day later, attorney Mariana Ardila wrote for Rewire News Group that the Biden administration’s FDA “was continuing to suspend a requirement that patients pick up abortion medications in-person during the pandemic.”
That same day, SELF associate news director Sarah Jacoby claimed, “What’s commonly called the abortion pill is actually two medications.”
Mifepristone “terminates a pregnancy by blocking the hormone progesterone,” she wrote, and misoprostol “makes it easier for the uterus to expel the pregnancy.”
LifeNews Note: Katie Yoder writes for Town Hall and National Review, where this column originally appeared.