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Yes, Plan B Can Kill Embryos

Media report that Plan B has no effect on human embryos, but research studies don’t support that conclusion.

By Dr. Donna Harrison, Director of Research and Public Policy of the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists Plan B

Some researchers and others have claimed categorically that Plan B — a high dose of Levonorgestrel — has no effect on human embryos. Media outlets in recent days have echoed these claims. The research studies, however, don’t support that conclusion.

Numerous studies and reviews published over the last 20 years have shed light on the nine critical steps from fertilization to a successful pregnancy that proceeds to term:

Step 1: At the beginning of a woman’s cycle, a new batch of eggs starts to mature in a woman’s ovary.

Step 2: The woman’s brain (specifically, the pituitary gland) sends a signal to her ovaries to cause the eggs in the batch to grow, and one will mature more than the others.

Step 3: The pituitary sends a big signal — a surge of luteinizing hormones, called the “LH surge” — to tell the ovary to get ready to release that one matured egg. That surge allows the egg to be released within the next 24 hours. The LH surge also causes the place where the egg was released from, the corpus luteum, to produce another hormone, progesterone, which later enables the embryo to survive.

Step 4: The woman’s ovary releases an egg, which must be fertilized within 24 hours or else is incapable of fertilization.

Step 5: An embryo is formed at fertilization (sperm penetrates egg).

Step 6: The embryo travels to the endometrial cavity.

Step 7: The embryo implants in the lining of the uterus (implantation).

Step 8: Biochemical “crosstalk” between the embryo and the mother establishes a nutrient supply to the embryo. This crosstalk requires progesterone before, during, and after implantation.

Step 9: The mother misses her period and gets a positive urine pregnancy test.

Currently the term “contraceptive” is used loosely to describe drugs or devices that interfere with one or more of the steps from 1 through 8. Interfering with pregnancy after step nine is termed an “abortion.”

Since human life begins at fertilization, however, the ethical controversy is not about the words “contraceptive” or “abortifacient” but rather about whether drugs and devices can interfere with steps 6 through 8: That is, can they end a human life that has already begun?

How Plan B works depends on what step a woman is at in her cycle. If she takes Plan B when she is at step 1, nothing happens.

If she takes Plan B at step 2, her brain will not produce enough of an LH surge for her to release an egg. Many studies show that if LNG (Plan B) is taken four to two days before a woman is due to release an egg, then Plan B can delay ovulation for several days or prevent ovulation altogether (see here, here, and here). If this were the only way in which Plan B worked, there would be no ethical concern about embryos: With no egg released, there would be no embryo formed.

If she takes Plan B at any one of the steps from 4 through 9, then there is good evidence that the high dose of LNG in Plan B EC is not effective in preventing pregnancy (see here). There is also evidence that taking this high dose after ovulation (actually after the LH surge that occurs the day before egg release) neither prevents implantation nor disrupts an embryo that already implanted (see here). That raises a concern about effectiveness, but not about ethics.

But what happens if a woman takes Plan B when she is at step 3?

This is the heart of the problem. If LNG is given one to two days before the egg is due to be released, then egg release is not reliably prevented (see here, here, and here). In fact, in several studies of women who received LNG as an emergency contraceptive during the time immediately before ovulation, ovulations were documented but no pregnancies occurred (see here and here).

One study reports that “when [a high dose of LNG] was given in the fertile window, breakthrough ovulations occurred 62 out of 87 times (71%)” (see here.)

That means that 71 percent of the time when women took LNG shortly before their egg release was due to happen, the women released eggs. This led the authors to conclude: “FR (follicular rupture or ovulation) occurred in some two-thirds of women taking [a high dose of LNG] preovulatory; this suggests that other mechanism than suppression of ovulation prevents pregnancy in these women.”

The authors recognized, that is, that an egg was released but no pregnancy occurred.

What happened? Several important studies help answer this question. When ovulation does occur after LNG has been given, most of those ovulations show luteal-phase defect (see here, here, here, here, here, and here).

That’s the term for when the ovary does not produce enough progesterone to allow the embryo to survive. If the LH surge is blunted — that’s an interference at step 3, above – then the ovary will release the egg, which can be fertilized but not produce enough progesterone for steps 6, 7, and 8. So, the embryo formed would not survive long enough to produce a positive pregnancy test. And interference with the LH surge is precisely how Plan B works.

So, in summary:

If Plan B is taken five to two days before egg release is due to happen, the interference with the LH signal prevents a woman from releasing an egg, no fertilization happens, and no embryo is formed.

Current studies do not demonstrate a harmful effect on the embryo if Plan B is taken after egg release.

Many authors focus on these two facts to make the sweeping claim that Plan B has no effect on a human embryo. What they are forgetting is Plan B’s effect at step 3, the two-day window in which embryos can form but positive pregnancy tests don’t occur. That’s the window during which the studies mentioned above suggest that Plan B has a likely embryocidal effect in stopping pregnancy.

That two-day window is a problem for people who care about the youngest human life. And it’s why the many confident assertions in the media that Plan B acts only to prevent conception, and never to kill embryos, are misguided.

— Donna Harrison is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist and is the executive director and director of research and public policy for the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

 © 2014 by National Review, Inc. Reprinted by permission.

Welcome to Heartbeat!

Heartbeat International is the first network of pro-life pregnancy resource centers in the U.S. and the largest and most expansive in the world. Since 1971, Heartbeat has supported, strengthened and started pregnancy help organizations, including pregnancy medical clinics, pregnancy resource centers,  maternity homes, and adoption agencies all over the world. Currently, Heartbeat serves 2,000 affiliates on all six inhabited continents to provide alternatives to abortion.

We are a nonprofit, interdenominational Christian association of faith-based pregnancy resource centers, medical clinics, maternity homes, and nonprofit adoption agencies endorsed by Christian leaders nationwide.

Heartbeat's Life-Saving Vision...

...is to make abortion unwanted today and unthinkable for future generations.

Heartbeat's Life-Saving Mission...

...is to Reach and Rescue as many lives as possible, around the world, through an effective network of life-affirming pregnancy help, to Renew communities for LIFE.

To achieve our mission, we do the following:

We REACH those who are abortion-vulnerable through Option Line's® 24-hour call center and cutting-edge website, www.OptionLine.org.

"Reach down your hand from on high; deliver me..." - Psalm 144:7

We RESCUE those who are reached through our life-support network of pregnancy centers providing true reproductive health care, ministry, education, and social services where lives are saved and changed.

"Rescue me, O Lord, from evil men; protect me from men of violence. " - Psalm 140:1

We RENEW broken cities around the world, by developing pregnancy centers where abortion clinics are the only alternative for abortion-vulnerable women.

"He sent me to bind up the brokenhearted...to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor... They will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations." - Isaiah 61:1-4

Heartbeat Principles:

  • Heartbeat affiliates propose and offer, through education and creative services, positive choices for the woman challenged by pregnancy.
  • Heartbeat affiliates shall not discriminate in their services on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, age, or marital status.
  • Heartbeat affiliates’ services are personal, confidential, and non-judgmental.
  • Heartbeat affiliates shall not advise, provide, or refer for abortion or abortifacients.
  • Heartbeat affiliates encourage chastity as a positive lifestyle choice.

Heartbeat Program Policies

  • Heartbeat international does not promote abortion or abortifacients.
  • Heartbeat international does not promote birth control (devices or medications) for family planning, population control, or health issues, including disease prevention.
  • Heartbeat International does promote God's Plan for our sexuality: marriage between one man and one woman, sexual intimacy, children, unconditional/unselfish love, and relationship with God must go together.
  • Heartbeat International does promote sexual integrity/sexual purity before marriage and sexual integrity faithfulness within marriage.
  • All Heartbeat international policies and materials are consistent with Biblical principles and with orthodox Christian (Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox) ethical principles and teaching on the dignity of the human person and sanctity of human life.

 Advancing Life-Affirming Pregnancy Help Worldwide

Thirty Studies in Five Years Show Abortion Hurts Women’s Mental Health

 

By Priscilla Coleman, Ph.D.

On November 7th, the Washington Post published an opinion by Dr. Brenda Major titled “The Big Lie about Abortion and Mental Health.”

I would like to offer another perspective on dishonesty permeating the scientific study and dissemination of information pertaining to abortion and mental health.

Dr. Major is absolutely correct; an informed choice regarding abortion must be based on accurate information.

For abortion providers to offer an unbiased and valid synopsis of the scientific literature on increased risks of abortion, the information must include depression, substance abuse, and anxiety disorders, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as well as suicide ideation and behaviors.

Over 30 studies have been published in just the last 5 years and they add to a body of literature comprised of hundreds of studies published in major medicine and psychology journals throughout the world.

The list is provided below and the conscientious reader is encouraged to check the studies out. No lies … just scientifically derived information that individual academics, several major professional organizations, and abortion providers have done their best to hide and distort in recent years.

Like Brenda Major, I too am a tenured, full professor at a well-respected U.S. University and I, too, have published peer-reviewed scientific articles in reputable journals. In fact, my publication record far exceeds that of Dr. Major on the topic of abortion and mental health. I am not alone in my opinion, which has been voiced by prominent researchers in Great Britain, Norway, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, the U.S., and elsewhere.

As a group of researchers, who in 2008 had published nearly 50 peer-reviewed articles indicating abortion is associated with negative psychological outcomes, 6 colleagues and I sent a petition letter to the American Psychological Association (APA) criticizing their methods and conclusions as described in their Task Force Report on Abortion and Mental Health.

The opinion piece by Brenda Major following on the heels of the highly biased APA report is just the latest effort to divert attention from a tidal wave of sound published data on the emotional consequences of abortion. The evidence is accumulating despite socio-political agendas to keep the truth from the academic journals and ultimately from women to insure that the big business of abortion continues unimpeded.

The literature now echoes the voices of millions of women for whom abortion was not a liberating, health promoting choice. A conservative estimate from the best available data is 20 to 30 percent of women who undergo an abortion will experience serious and/or prolonged negative consequences.

Any interpretation of the available research that does not acknowledge the strong evidence now available in the professional literature represents a conscious choice to ignore basic principles of scientific integrity.

The human fallout to such a choice by the APA and like-minded colleagues is misinformed professionals, millions of women struggling in isolation to make sense of a past abortion, thousands who will seek an abortion today without the benefit of known risks, and millions who will make this often life altering decision tomorrow without the basic right of informed consent, which is routinely extended for all other elective surgeries in the U.S.

In publishing Major’s opinion without soliciting other voices on the topic, the Washington Post has perpetuated a serious injustice.


Studies showing the abortion-mental health connection:

•       Bradshaw, Z., & Slade, P. (2005). The relationship between induced abortion, attitudes toward sexuality, and sexual problems. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 20, 390-406.
•       Brockington, I.F. (2005). Post-abortion psychosis, Archives of Women’s Mental Health 8: 53–54.
•       Broen, A. N., Moum, T., Bodtker, A. S., & Ekeberg, O. (2006). Predictors of anxiety and depression following pregnancy termination: A longitudinal five-year follow-up study. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica 85: 317-23.
•       Broen, A. N., Moum, T., Bodtker, A. S., & Ekeberg, O. (2005). Reasons for induced abortion and their relation to women’s emotional distress: A prospective, two-year follow-up study. General Hospital Psychiatry 27: 36-43.
•       Broen, A. N., Moum, T., Bodtker, A. S., & Ekeberg, O. (2005). The course of mental health after miscarriage and induced abortion: a longitudinal, five-year follow-up study. BMC Medicine 3(18).
•       Coleman, P. K. (2005). Induced Abortion and increased risk of substance use: A review of the evidence. Current Women’s Health Reviews 1, 21-34.
•       Coleman, P. K. (2006). Resolution of unwanted pregnancy during adolescence through abortion versus childbirth: Individual and family predictors and psychological consequences. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 35, 903-911.
•       Coleman, P. K. (2009). The Psychological Pain of Perinatal Loss and Subsequent Parenting Risks: Could Induced Abortion be more Problematic than Other Forms of Loss? Current Women’s Health Reviews, 5, 88-99.
•       Coleman, P. K., Coyle, C. T., & Rue, V.M. (2010). Late-Term Elective Abortion and Susceptibility to Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms, Journal of Pregnancy, vol. 2010, Article ID 130519.
•       Coleman, P. K., Coyle, C.T., Shuping, M., & Rue, V. (2009), Induced Abortion and Anxiety, Mood, and Substance Abuse Disorders: Isolating the Effects of Abortion in the National Comorbidity Survey. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 43, 770– 776.
•       Coleman, P. K., Maxey, C. D., Rue, V. M., & Coyle, C. T. (2005). Associations between voluntary and involuntary forms of perinatal loss and child maltreatment among low-income mothers. Acta Paediatrica, 94(10), 1476-1483.
•       Coleman, P. K., & Maxey, D. C., Spence, M. Nixon, C. (2009). The choice to abort among mothers living under ecologically deprived conditions:  Predictors and consequences. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction 7, 405-422.
•       Coleman, P. K., Reardon, D. C., & Cougle, J. R. (2005). Substance use among pregnant women in the context of previous reproductive loss and desire for current pregnancy. British Journal of Health Psychology, 10 (2), 255-268.
•       Coleman, P. K., Reardon, D. C., Strahan, T., & Cougle, J. R. (2005). The psychology of abortion: A review and suggestions for future research. Psychology and Health, 20, 237-271.
•       Coleman, P.K., Rue, V.M. & Coyle, C.T. (2009). Induced abortion and intimate relationship quality in the Chicago Health and Social Life Survey. Public Health, 123, 331-338.DOI: 10.1016/j.puhe.2009.01.005.
•       Coleman, P.K., Rue, V.M., Coyle, C.T. & Maxey, C.D. (2007). Induced abortion and child-directed aggression among mothers of maltreated children. Internet Journal of Pediatrics and Neonatology, 6 (2), ISSN: 1528-8374.
•       Coleman, P. K., Rue, V., & Spence, M. (2007). Intrapersonal processes and post-abortion   relationship difficulties:  A review and consolidation of relevant literature. Internet Journal of Mental Health, 4 (2).
•       Coleman, P.K., Rue, V.M., Spence, M. & Coyle, C.T. (2008). Abortion and the sexual lives of men and women: Is casual sexual behavior more appealing and more common after abortion? International Journal of Health and Clinical Psychology, 8 (1), 77-91.
•       Cougle, J. R., Reardon, D. C., & Coleman, P. K. (2005). Generalized anxiety following unintended pregnancies resolved through childbirth and abortion: A cohort study of the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 19, 137-142.
•       Coyle, C.T., Coleman, P.K. & Rue, V.M. (2010). Inadequate preabortion counseling and decision conflict as predictors of subsequent relationship difficulties and psychological stress in men and women. Traumatology, 16 (1), 16-30. DOI:10.1177/1534765609347550.
•       Dingle, K., et al. (2008). Pregnancy loss and psychiatric disorders in young women: An Australian birth cohort study. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 193, 455-460.
•       Fergusson, D. M., Horwood, L. J., & Boden, J.M. (2009). Reactions to abortion and subsequent mental health. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 195, 420-426.
•       Fergusson, D. M., Horwood, L. J., & Ridder, E. M. (2006). Abortion in young women and subsequent mental health. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47, 16-24.
•       Gissler, M., et al. (2005). Injury deaths, suicides and homicides associated with pregnancy, Finland 1987-2000. European Journal of Public Health, 15, 459-463.
•       Hemmerling, F., Siedentoff, F., & Kentenich, H. (2005). Emotional impact and acceptability of medical abortion with mifepristone: A German experience. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology, 26, 23-31.
•       Mota, N.P. et al (2010). Associations between abortion, mental disorders, and suicidal behaviors in a nationally representative sample. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 55(4), 239-246.
•       Pedersen, W. (2008). Abortion and depression: A population-based longitudinal study of young women. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 36, No. 4, 424-428.
•       Pedersen, W. (2007). Childbirth, abortion and subsequent substance use in young women: a population-based longitudinal study. Addiction, 102 (12), 1971-78.
•       Reardon, D. C., & Coleman, P. K. (2006). Relative treatment for sleep disorders following abortion and child delivery: A prospective record-based study. Sleep, 29 (1), 105-106.
•       Rees, D. I. & Sabia, J. J. (2007). The Relationship between Abortion and Depression: New Evidence from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. Medical Science Monitor. 13(10): 430-436.
•       Suliman et al. (2007) Comparison of pain, cortisol levels, and psychological distress in women undergoing surgical termination of pregnancy under local anaesthesia versus intravenous sedation. BMC Psychiatry, 7 (24), p.1-9.

Dr. Priscilla Coleman is a Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University.

 

Forced Abortion in America

 

 forcedabortion 1

by Susan Dammann RN LAS, Medical Specialist

Did you know most abortions are unwanted, including as much as 64 percent of U.S. abortions involving coercion? Abortion-related coercion can lead to violence, including even homicide—the leading cause of death among pregnant women.

Do you know teens are especially at risk for unwanted, coerced and forced abortions, as well as the many forms coercion can take?

Escalating pressure to abort can come from employers, husbands, parents, doctors, partners, profit-driven abortion businesses, landlords, friends and family or even trusted financial, personal, academic or religious guides, gatekeepers or authorities.

These subjects and many more are included in the peer-reviewed Special Report from the Elliot Institute, Forced Abortion in America.

This valuable resource is free to download, and is an excellent tool for educating yourself and your staff about what society commonly calls a woman’s choice, but in reality is often the un-choice.

The report contains the following information:

Why abortion is the Un-choice:

  • 64% of women reported feeling pressured to abort.
  • Most felt rushed or uncertain, yet 67% weren’t counseled.
  • 79% weren’t told of available resources.
  • 84% weren’t sufficiently informed before abortion.
  • Pressure to abort can escalate to violence.
  • Homicide is the leading killer of pregnant women.
  • Clinics fail to screen for coercion.
  • Women nearly 4 times more likely to die after abortion.
  • Suicide rates 6 times higher after abortion.
  • 65% of women suffer trauma symptoms after abortion.

Why abortion is the Uninformed Non-Choice:

  • 54% were unsure of their decision, yet 67% received no counseling beforehand.
  • 84% were inadequately counseled beforehand.
  • 79% not told or deceived about available resources.
  • Many were misinformed by experts about fetal development, abortion alternatives or risks.
  • Many were denied essential personal, family, societal or economic support.

Why abortion is the Unsafe Choice:

• Nearly 80% of abortions take place in non-hospital facilities, ill-equipped for emergency care.
• 31% had health complications afterwards.
• 65% suffer multiple symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
• 65% higher risk of clinical depression.
• 10% have immediate complications, some are life-threatening.
• 3.5x higher risk of death from all causes.
• Suicide rates are 6 times higher if women abort vs. giving birth.

This is just a sampling of the information contained in this report, complete with many documented case reports. As clients come into our centers looking for our help, it is critically important to educate our staff about what is happening to so many women who find themselves in an unexpected pregnancy.

Equipped with this information, your staff can be vigilant to listen for and explore any indications the client may give, suggesting she may be in a situation involving potential or real violence and coercion.

A woman dealing with both an unexpected pregnancy and coercion-related issues may be frightened to verbalize the threats she is experiencing so we must pray for God’s discernment as we meet with our clients, while developing screening skills to identify potential abuse victims, as well as policies and procedures for intervention when a case of abuse is identified.

Book Review: Recall Abortion

Book by Janet Morana

Review by Jay Hobbs, Communications Assistant

From forward—written by the brilliant Fr. Frank Pavone—to conclusion, Janet Morana’s Recall Abortion makes a compelling case that now is the time to take the “failed product” of abortion off the proverbial shelves of American life.

Janet, who serves as Executive Director of Priests for Life and is the Co-Founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, leads off chapter two with an especially gripping statement:

Abortion is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated against women, and those who profit from abortion are the snake oil salesman of our time. This statement may strike some as sensationalism, but I assure you it is not. The evidence in this book will show that it is no exaggeration. (pg. 15)

Indeed, the evidence Recall Abortion presents supports Janet’s claim, and then some. After summarizing several cases of women who have endured (in some cases permanent and chronic) physical complications stemming from abortion, Janet wraps up chapter two with a compelling comparison of recalled American products, ranging from 1978 Ford Pintos to 2000 Firestone tires.

What is expertly implied throughout is made explicit to end this foundational chapter:

Think back to the heartbreaking stories of the women who have testified on Silent No More. Think back to the testimonies of former abortion doctors. Abortion kills babies. And it harms women, physically, psychologically, and emotionally. Isn’t it time to rethink our abortion policy? Isn’t it time to recall abortion?

Another excellent feature of this book—which makes it a good “loaner” or gift to your friends, family, and church leadership—is its weaving in and out of the firsthand accounts of women (and men!) who have been deeply damaged by past abortion.

If one and four women will submit to an abortion by age 45, as Planned Parenthood research arm Guttmacher Institute estimates, then those on the fringes of the prolife movement—your pastor, minister, priest, or friendly theology student—somehow need to be brought into contact with these real women and men. Recall Abortion l is a great place for these friends to start.

Recall Abortion does an excellent job of replacing numbers with faces, pie charts with stories. But its reach doesn’t end there. It also tackles the so-called “hard cases,” including abortion in the cases of rape and incest, fetal deformalities, and the life of a mother.

Pick up a copy or five—or 10—and spread the word that now is the time to recall abortion.

The Introduction and Use of RU-486 in the U.S. & the World

  • How knowledgeable are you about RU-486?RU-486
  • How much information does your staff have to skillfully discuss RU-486 with a client?
  • Are you looking for a great educational piece for a staff in-service or training?

Director of Education and Research for the National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund Randall K. O’Bannon Ph.D and Director of Research and Public Policy for the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists Dr. Donna Harrison have written a duo of fantastic articles that you can read and download in their entirety at http://www.abortionresearch.us/images/Vol24No1.pdf for use in your centers as well as education for your staff.

  • The Introduction and Use of the Abortifacient Mifepristone (RU-486) in the United States
  • The Introduction and Use of the Abortifacient Mifepristone (RU-486) in the Developing World

Let me whet your appetite with a few excerpts from the 12 page well-referenced articles…

The Introduction and Use of the Abortifacient Mifepristone (RU-486) in the United States

By Randall K. O’Bannon Ph.D,  Director of Education and Research for the National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund

“The discovery of the pregnancy hormones progesterone (1929) and estrogen (1934) opened up whole new possibilities. Gregory Pincus, one of the co-inventors of the oral contraceptive pill, theorized that “anti-progestins should be implantation inhibitors,”

“Etienne-Emile Baulieu visited Pincus in Puerto Rico, where trials were being conducted of the new birth control pill, and came away determined to devote his life to steroid research, believing Chemical contraception central to women’s health and to control of the world’s population (Lader, RU-486, 29-30, Baulieu, 69).

“He returned to France and began working as a consultant to French pharmaceutical giant Roussel Uclaf…”

“Normally in pregnancy, progesterone, produced by the corpus luteum, functions to build and maintain the endometrium, which welcomes and then sustains the developing child in his or her earliest days. As pregnancy progresses, the placenta takes over progesterone production, but those critical first weeks are crucial to the establishment of the child’s nurturing and protective environment.”

“Anti-progestins bind to the same receptor sites as progesterone, but then do not carry out the same tasks. With the progesterone signal effectively blocked, the endometrial lining decays and sloughs off, depriving the developing child of essential nutrients, essentially starving her or him to death as the protective environment around her or him collapses.”

“Ultimately, under what The New York Times termed “sustained political pressure from the Clinton administration, a deal was struck granting U.S. licensing rights to the Population Council of New York in May of 1994. Roussel agreed to turn over all rights and responsibilities connected to the drug to the Population Council for free, hoping to avoid becoming a boycott target.”

“A common medical issue in many of these deaths is how difficult it is, for both patients and doctors, to distinguish between the ordinary side effects of chemical abortion, which are often severe, and the signs of a serious problem like hemorrhage, ruptured ectopic pregnancy, or infection.”

“Women are told to expect heavy bleeding, akin to a heavy period, and understand that the abortion will be painful. When these occur, they assume that they are related to the abortion process. If the pain and bleeding become so substantial that they call the clinic or go to the emergency room, even the medical professional may consider the events to be abortion-related. Brenda Vise called the clinic repeatedly and was told that her considerable pelvic pain was normal. The doctor at the ER did a physical exam of Holly Patterson and sent her home with more pain medication. Both were dead before the week was out.”

“Many abortion clinics are ignoring the FDA protocol, changing doses of the drugs extending the cutoff date from 49 days to 63, eliminating the second visit and letting women take the misoprostol at home (San Francisco Chronicle, 12/5/11), or even going so far as to prescribe the drugs via webcams, eliminating all direct physical contact between doctor and patient entirely (KCCI, 5/1910; Sioux City Journal, 10/8/10). Failures and complications are not only common, but more problematic, as women are farther removed from the careful medical monitoring that is essential to this process.”

“The Guttmacher Institute estimated that in 2008, more than a quarter of all abortions done at 9 weeks gestation or earlier were chemical abortions and both the overall percentage of chemical abortions and the number of clinics offering these abortions have been steadily increasing. If things continue trending as they are, it means that we can expect more women will die, along with tens of thousands more of their unborn children.”

The Use of the Abortifacient Mifepristone (RU-486) in the Developing World

Dr. Harrison’s article reports that multiple studies demonstrate that first trimester medical abortions utilizing mifepristone and misoprostol result in:

  • 20 out of every 100 women with a significant adverse event (hemorrhage, infection, retained tissue, continued pregnancy exposed to drugs which can cause fetal malformation),
  • 15 out of every 100 women hemorrhage,
  • 7 out of every 100 women have tissue left inside, which can become infected, and
  • 6 out of every 100 women need surgery, sometimes as emergency surgery.

By Donna Harrison, M.D,, Director of Research and Public Policy, American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists

“The use of non-surgical (medical) abortion in the developing world has had great appeal for abortion advocates. Surgical procedures in third world countries with poor medical infrastructure, lack of dependable transportation to emergency centers, and even inadequate water supplies pose health risks for patients electing to have a surgical abortion. On the other hand, simply taking a pill to undo the pregnancy appears to be a good solution for third world women. “

“The reality is that surgical abortions are still necessary in a number of cases because the pill fails; medical abortions are being attempted in settings with inadequate backup to care for complications; and hemorrhaging, a common side-effect of RU-486 abortions, is harder to control in third world environments. Unfortunately, there is a tendency to disregard such problems by enthusiastic abortion advocates, eager to expand abortion use in these countries.”

“In a moment of unguarded honesty, an ironic article, entitled Medical abortion: Is it a blessing or curse for the developing nations?, was published in the medical literature in 2011 ... [T]his article gives a rare glimpse into the reality of willy-nilly access to drugs which can end a pregnancy … The abstract opens with this statement:

"Medical abortion is definitely a safer and a better option, but in developing countries, its widespread misuse has led to partial or septic abortion thereby increasing maternal mortality and morbidity.”

“When the medical methods of abortion were launched in developing countries like India it was thought that frequency of illegal unsafe abortions by local dais and unregistered practitioners will decrease to a large extent and it will help in managing such unwanted pregnancies through safe and legalized abortions in peripheral health centres (PHCs), community health centres (CHCs), and civil hospitals. No doubt, though unsafe surgical abortions have decreased largely due to strict legislations but these have been replaced by increasing number of unsafe medical abortions.”

“Because medical abortion is being used increasingly in several countries, it is likely to result in an elevated incidence of overall morbidity related to termination of pregnancy.”

 

Download both articles in their entirety: http://www.abortionresearch.us/images/Vol24No1.pdf.