Doctors Confirm Abortion Pills are Dangerous, 20% of Women Will Suffer Complications

Opinion   |   Julie Marie Blake   |   Apr 5, 2023   |   10:41AM   |   Washington, DC

More than two decades ago, the Food and Drug Administration failed its duty to the public when it approved harmful chemical abortion drugs at the behest of progressive politicians and drug companies. Professional medical associations gave the FDA two clear opportunities, in the form of a 2002 and 2016 citizen petition , to do the right thing and reverse this approval. But the FDA rejected these opportunities. Now, doctors and medical associations are asking the courts to hold the FDA accountable for its unauthorized, politicized approval of chemical abortion drugs.

In the first-of-its-kind lawsuit, Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration , medical practitioners nationwide are asking a federal court to overturn the FDA’s unlawful approval of chemical abortion drugs. Alliance Defending Freedom is representing four national medical associations and four doctors, each of whom has experience in caring for women who have suffered adverse effects from these drugs.

The devastating effects of these drugs have been well-documented. One in five women who undergo a chemical abortion will suffer a complication and require further medical attention. Women can face severe bleeding, life-threatening infections, and the inability to have future successful pregnancies — requiring emergency medical treatment, surgeries, blood transfusions, and hysterectomies.

One of the plaintiffs, Dr. Tyler Johnson, said he has seen “a least a dozen cases of life-threatening complications” from chemical abortion medications in his work in emergency rooms in the Midwest. In one case, he treated a woman who received chemical abortion drugs from an abortionist in Chicago. She took the pill and began bleeding so severely that she was unconscious by the time she arrived at Johnson’s emergency room. She required emergency treatment and a blood transfusion and had to stay in the hospital to recover. Johnson said, “I have seen multiple cases similar to this one,” and cautioned that “women taking these drugs are at risk of serious and life-threatening complications and even death.”

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Johnson also added that, in many cases, women who are suffering adverse effects from chemical abortion drugs “are not adequately prepared to understand what the drugs will do to them.” Abortionists appear to be handing out these drugs without fully explaining the risks, which means “that these women and girls could not have given informed consent to chemical abortion,” he said.

He shared a story about an 18-year-old woman who came to the emergency room terrified, shocked, and in agony — she clearly had not been told that chemical abortion drugs could lead to excessive bleeding and extreme pain. Johnson warned that “the FDA’s actions have created a culture of chaos for emergency room physicians,” who are placed in the difficult position of treating women who “do not understand what they have taken and are often reluctant to tell emergency doctors what they have taken.”

Another plaintiff, Dr. Shaun Jester, a physician in Texas, said that “unsupervised chemical abortions” (such as those permitted by the FDA) “are dangerous and potentially life-threatening.” He shared a situation in which he treated a woman whose chemical abortion led to a uterine infection, suffered two weeks of heavy bleeding, and needed emergency medical help. Jester said that if she had waited just a few more days before seeking care, “she could have been septic and died.” He reported this to the FDA out of serious concern for his patient, but countless stories like this go unreported because the FDA does not require emergency room doctors to report any adverse event from chemical abortion drugs.

Dr. George Delgado, another plaintiff, has spent a good portion of his career developing the Abortion Pill Reversal program, which connects women who regret their chemical abortion to medical care to attempt to reverse their abortion. This reversal is only possible in a very small window of time, but Delgado’s efforts have enabled many women to save their babies’ lives after taking the first part of the chemical abortion drug regimen.

He shared that, over his career, he has treated many women who took chemical abortion drugs without consent or even under coercion. In one case, a woman told him she received the drugs from an abortionist who pressured her to take them, placing the drug in her hand and then ordering her to take the pill before it melted in her hand, emphasizing that it was very expensive. The woman took the pill, regretted it, and was able to reverse her abortion with Delgado’s help.

These doctors are on the front lines, dealing with the fallout of the FDA’s irresponsible, unlawful approval of chemical abortion drugs. After decades of treating women in the midst of grave medical emergencies, they, along with hundreds of other physicians that the four medical associations represent, decided to file suit.

Medical professionals aren’t the only ones asking the court to hold the FDA accountable. Pro-life organizations, 67 members of Congress, and 23 states submitted a total of 15 friend-of-the-court briefs with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Amarillo Division.

Twenty-two years ago, the FDA failed in its duty to protect Americans from harmful drugs entering the market. Since then, the FDA has ignored and rejected the voices of Americans who have asked it to correct course. Now, people are standing up.

How many more women and girls have to die or nearly die before the FDA admits that chemical abortion drugs are dangerous?

LifeNews Note: Julie Marie Blake, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom (@ADFLegal), represents four doctors and four medical associations, including the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration.