Vitals Reporting on the pro-life movement

Abortion pill reversals on the rise

Abortion | Since the start of the pandemic, more women are asking for help to save their babies
by Leah Hickman
Posted 5/11/20, 06:03 pm

The number of women attempting to reverse the effects of the abortion pill and save their babies’ lives doubled in March and April, according to Heartbeat International’s Abortion Pill Rescue Network.

“In 2019, we averaged about 51 reversal starts each month,” said Christa Brown, a director at Heartbeat. “In March, there were 108, and in April there were 104.”

Women who call the Abortion Pill Rescue hotline have taken mifepristone, the first of two pills used in chemically induced abortions. Some regret their decision immediately.

“Many of their calls are in the abortion business’s parking lot or right after they get home,” Brown said. “We’re seeing that about 80 percent of our callers [during the pandemic] actually start reversal. It used to be about 50 percent.”

The increased number of callers to the hotline parallels the increased use of the abortion pill under coronavirus closures and stay-at-home orders. The abortion industry has been shifting toward so-called “medical” abortions for years. The heightened financial stress on women and fears about limited access to surgical abortions during the pandemic have given the industry the perfect opportunity to push the pills—even ignoring safety measures in the process.

“The pandemic has added a lot of pressures for our clients,” Brown said. “If they haven’t lost their jobs, maybe their income has decreased … their living conditions are crowded.”

Some state governments have ordered abortion businesses to halt the elective procedure to save personal protective equipment for essential medical care. In other states, abortion facilities have closed because of strains on finances and other resources.

Those limits on surgical abortions, along with more people wanting to stay at home, have turned women toward illegal online sellers of abortion pills. The sites deliver the pills directly to homes without the women first obtaining an ultrasound or getting the guidance of a physician.

According to Brown, the Abortion Pill Rescue hotline also has seen an uptick in the number of women taking the pill without physician guidance. “If [a woman] has an ectopic pregnancy,” she said, “that can be dangerous for her.”

Dr. Donna Harrison, executive director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said that without the help of a physician or an ultrasound, women might face hemorrhaging, infections, incomplete abortions, or other complications with no one qualified to help them. To protect against those problems, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires abortionists to prescribe the drugs and to dispense them only at medical facilities.

Some abortionists have challenged those safety measures by expanding their remote services during the pandemic. Before the coronavirus, some providers participated in a so-called clinical trial that allowed them to send abortion pills in the mail. The program known as TelAbortion is now in 13 states. During March and April, it helped twice as many women obtain abortions than in the previous two months, The New York Times reported.

The program’s website gives a nod to the FDA guidelines, mentioning that participants should obtain applicable tests such as an ultrasound before taking the drugs. But the abortion industry would like to get rid of those requirements. During the pandemic, 21 pro-abortion state attorneys general wrote to the FDA requesting the federal government waive the risk evaluation and mitigation strategy for the abortion pill. Even before the coronavirus, groups like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists took a stance against the FDA’s protection of women, calling the restrictions an unnecessary limit on access to abortion.

In a strategic step, Gynuity Health Projects, one sponsor of TelAbortion, rolled out protocols for eliminating in-person interactions for women wanting to get the abortion pills. Gynuity disguised it as an attempt to serve women during the coronavirus outbreak but acknowledged it wants the relaxed standards to continue after the pandemic.

“We expect that the no-test approach will continue to be beneficial after the epidemic ends by decreasing cost and enhancing convenience and comfort of medical abortion and by facilitating new service delivery approaches that can increase access to this essential health care,” according to Gynuity’s website.

With those protocols for limited contact, Harrison said abortionists are telling women, “You’re on your own. And, if something happens, you figure it out.”

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Stuart, Kathrine, and Ruby Dawson leave Blackpool Victoria Hospital in Lancashire, England.

A healthy mother and child head home

A hospital in Lancashire, England, discharged a mother and her premature newborn baby on May 4 after both recovered from COVID-19. Doctors performed an emergency cesarean section on the mother, Kathrine Dawson, on April 1, when she was 32 weeks into her pregnancy and after she started experiencing complications from the disease. The hospital sedated Dawson after she gave birth and put her on a ventilator for eight days.

Since both Dawson and baby Ruby tested positive, the hospital did not allow her husband and the baby’s father, Stuart Dawson, to visit them. He and their two older daughters talked to her via a video call before doctors sedated her. “It was like saying goodbye; it could have been the last phone call,” he said. “I thought I was going to be a widower looking after young children on my own.” Kathrine Dawson said she felt forever grateful to the doctors and nurses who held her hand throughout the ordeal. —L.H.

Dutch deaths to resume

After halting euthanasia programs during the coronavirus crisis, one provider in the Netherlands is slowly restarting its death-on-demand practices. Some doctors and nurses at the Euthanasia Expertise Center in The Hague are at high risk for COVID-19 or work another job at a hospital or medical practice, so fewer are available to perform euthanasia. The center plans to start up again in phases, focusing on requests that came in before it had to close on March 17, according to its website.

The Netherlands became the first country to legalize euthanasia in 2002. The Euthanasia Expertise Center announced in February that in 2019 it received 3,122 requests for euthanasia, “far more than expected,” the Agence France-Presse reported. The center ended 900 people’s lives in 2019, up from 727 the year before. —L.H.

Coming between parents and teens

Abortion groups are promoting websites that provide minors with information on how to obtain abortions without their parents’ knowledge. Twenty-one states require minors to get one or both parents’ consent before aborting a child, and 16 states mandate other forms of parental involvement in decisions about a minor’s abortion. Websites from pro-abortion groups like If/When/How, the Carolina Abortion Fund, and Jane’s Due Process give minors information about how to navigate the process of judicial bypass, which sometimes allows teens to end an unborn baby’s life with just the permission of a judge.

The sites target minors who are unable to obtain permission from a parent or who just don’t want their parents involved. They put teenage girls in both scenarios at risk of going through the traumatizing process of an abortion by themselves and without the consent or knowledge of parents who could potentially encourage them to keep their babies alive. —L.H.

Voting for life

The issue of abortion single-handedly keeps many young Americans voting Republican, The New York Times reported. Almost all of the two dozen young Republicans interviewed by the Times said they disagreed with the party on at least one major issue, but most said their pro-life convictions prevented them from voting for Democrats.

“I’m of the firm belief that you can’t be pro-life and vote Democrat,” Autumn Crawford, 20, from Minnesota said. “I’m not pro-Trump. I will vote Republican because I will not vote Democrat, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.” —L.H.

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Leah Hickman

Leah is a reporter for WORLD Magazine and WORLD Digital. She is a World Journalism Institute and Hillsdale College graduate. Leah resides in Cleveland, Ohio. Follow her on Twitter @leahmhickman.

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