Vitals Reporting on the pro-life movement

Study: Chemical abortion reversal safe and effective

Abortion | New peer-reviewed research shows pro-life process can save babies from lethal drugs
by Samantha Gobba
Posted 4/09/18, 02:09 pm

New peer-reviewed research has one abortion advocate acknowledging the effectiveness of a procedure that reverses chemical abortions, a process increasingly promoted by pro-life physicians.

In his study, abortion pill reversal pioneer George Delgado examined the cases of 547 women who called a pro-life hotline after they regretted taking mifepristone, the first of a duo of drugs designed to abort early pregnancies. He and other researchers concluded the procedure is safe for the mother and usually effective in saving the baby’s life.

Women who called the Abortion Pill Reversal hotline often had misgivings about their decision before they even took the drug, Delgado told me.

“I think the reason why is that human beings are hardwired to nurture, to take care of, and to protect their young, and that includes the unborn,” he said. “And so when you go against that hardwiring, there are going to be some regrets.”

Of the 1,668 women who called the Abortion Pill Reversal hotline from 2012 to 2016, 754 went to a local doctor willing to give them the progesterone reversal therapy. Of those, 547 took progesterone within 72 hours of taking mifepristone and stayed in touch for follow-up care. Out of those, 257 women gave birth to their babies. Overall, the reversal rate for chemical abortions was 47 percent, significantly higher than the “failure” rate of taking mifepristone alone—at most 25 percent, according to the study. High dose oral ingestion of progesterone had the highest rate of success, at 68 percent.

The science behind abortion pill reversal is simple: Mifepristone, prescribed and dispensed by abortionists, blocks progesterone receptors. Without the pregnancy-sustaining hormone progesterone, the developing baby doesn’t get the needed oxygen and nutrients, dying about 75 percent of the time. But if the mother takes a high enough dose of progesterone within 72 hours of taking mifepristone, researchers found, the baby has as much as a 68 percent chance of surviving.

Doctors have used progesterone for decades to avert preterm birth, and a few have used it since 2006 to successfully reverse the effects of mifepristone for hundreds of mothers. Delgado and his team found the treatment led to no greater rate of birth defects than average and a much lower preterm birth rate than average.

Despite the simplicity of the procedure, many abortion advocates have called it fake science and even now protest laws designed to promote awareness of the treatment. But the latest study has softened at least one opponent’s tone.

Last year, University of California, San Francisco, professor Daniel Grossman told the New York Times Delgado’s research was “poor quality” and provided “no evidence that any kind of treatment is better than doing nothing.”

But last week, Grossman admitted the use of progesterone to counter mifepristone “makes some biological sense.”

The abortion advocate still called the treatment “experimental” and argued only a small portion of women who take mifepristone change their minds. “But it’s not zero, and I do think that women who change their minds should be given the best available information about what they should do,” he added.

While Delgado admits further research in the form of a randomized control trial is needed, doctors shouldn’t wait to give unborn babies a chance at life: “It doesn’t make sense that we should withhold treatment like this for women in that situation, when it has been shown to be safe and effective and there is no alternative treatment.” A Border Patrol agent takes a group of Central Americans into custody for illegally crossing the Rio Grande River near McAllen, Texas.

Court: Government must allow abortions for teen detainees

A federal judge ruled last week that the Trump administration must help pregnant minors caught illegally crossing the U.S. border obtain abortions. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan sided with the American Civil Liberties Union, which has argued since last year on behalf of “all pregnant, unaccompanied minor children who are or will be in the legal custody of the federal government.”

Last year, the ACLU procured abortions for four teen immigrants against the federal government’s argument that it is not obligated to facilitate abortions for illegal immigrants. A fifth pregnant teen immigrant withdrew her request for an abortion, saying in a written statement she had been pressured into requesting the procedure.

The Trump administration can appeal Chutkan’s decision, but that would send the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia, which last year sided with the ACLU. —S.G.

Creative Commons/American Life League Creative Commons/American Life League David Daleiden

Supreme Court refuses to hear Daleiden case

Pro-life activist David Daleiden, known for the undercover videos that exposed Planned Parenthood’s involvement in illegal fetal tissue sales, lost his bid last week for a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court. Daleiden hoped his appeal would lift a California court’s gag order blocking the release of his remaining videos.

The National Abortion Federation filed suit in 2015 to suppress the videos, and U.S. District Judge William Orrick III from the Northern District of California issued the gag order to prevent “harassment, intimidation, violence, invasion of privacy, and injury to reputation” against the organization representing abortionists. Daleiden appealed to the Supreme Court last year.

Thomas More Society president Tom Brejcha, one of Daleiden’s defense attorneys, called the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case a “frustrating setback.” The group plans to focus on removing Orrick from the case over his ties to Planned Parenthood. —S.G.

Legislative updates

  • Hawaii Gov. David Ige, a Democrat, signed a bill to legalize assisted suicide last week, making his state the sixth to allow the practice.
  • Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, signed a law barring state health insurance from paying for abortions, except in the case of rape, incest, or danger to the mother’s life.
  • Tennessee is poised to block TennCare payments from going to Planned Parenthood with a bill passed last month by the legislature. Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, appears likely to sign it.
  • Missouri’s House voted 117-31 last week to pass the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act that would protect the lives of unborn babies after 20 weeks gestation. The measure now heads to the state Senate. —S.G.

Euthanasia opponents mourn double suicide

An elderly Toronto couple died together last month in one of the first joint doctor-assisted suicides. Shirley Brickenden, 94, suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and a weak heart, and her 95-year-old husband, George, had experienced several fainting spells. That was good enough reasons for two doctors, who approved the couple’s request to die. Canada’s 2016 Medical Assistance in Dying law requires patients to have “a grievous or irremedial medical condition” in order for their requests to be granted, raising questions about the doctors’ approval. A year before his fainting spells, a doctor had denied George Brickenden’s request to die. —S.G.

Samantha Gobba

Samantha reports on the pro-life movement for WORLD Digital.

Read more from this writer


  • Bob C
    Posted: Tue, 04/10/2018 09:51 am

    Euthanasia opponents mourn double suicide - Another reason to stop assisted suicide.  Granted this couple in their mid-90’s do not have much of a life to look forward to based on their medical conditions, but it is appalling to ask a Doctor, who has been trained and practices the art of medicine to save and preserve life, to make a decision to approve self-inflicted murder.  Now the Doctor’s judgement is being called into question for approving it!  I think doctors has every right to abstain from participating in this decision making process simply on moral grounds. The doctor should tell the patient the decision to commit self-murder is a moral issue, not a medical decision and I cannot help you.     

  • Ben K
    Posted: Sat, 04/14/2018 07:33 am

    These updates are always crucial and helpful. Thank you!