In an epic fall on my dog - who is fine by the way – I dislocated my shoulder and tore three ligaments. The word “painful” does not begin to describe the experience. However, the number one topic of my conversations with healthcare professionals was not my recovery, but the risks of pain relievers. Before the shoulder surgery to reconstruct all the displaced parts, the doctor first explained to me the repercussions of the pain relievers, and I was asked not to take any for the two days before the procedure. Now, weeks after my recovery, the number one talking point is still the risk of becoming addicted to pain relievers.
The possible repercussions of these pills are of paramount importance to doctors and government regulators. And that’s true for many other medications: Two of my kids took the acne medication Accutane and had to be tested every month to make sure the medication wouldn’t cause birth defects. But the medical community’s safety concerns end when it comes to pills that induce abortion. When an unborn life is terminated, no harm that can happen to women seems sufficient to stop the distribution of lethal drugs or even merit a frank conversation.
On the same day, the FDA announced that it would withdraw a COVID-19 vaccine from the market because six people had blood clots and one died after taking it, we learned that chemical abortion pills needed to be deregulated, despite the fact that over 20 women have died while taking them and thousands more have experienced unwanted side effects.
The FDA now allows doctors to prescribe chemical abortion pills without first looking for potential complications. Such pre-screening by ultrasound is necessary for several reasons. First, the pills do not end an ectopic pregnancy in a woman’s fallopian tube, and women have died because their pregnancy continued after taking the pills, resulting in internal bleeding. An ultrasound can also determine the age of the unborn child, which is important because research shows that women are often inaccurate in determining how deep in pregnancy they are. Chemical abortion pills are dangerous later in pregnancy and can put a woman at risk of incomplete abortion, infection, or even death.
The pills cause complications four times more often than surgical abortion. And according to a report from a medical journal in Medscape General Medicine“The risk of death appears to be 10 times higher with medical abortion than with surgical abortion.” One report found that more than 5 percent of women taking chemical abortion pills in their first trimester were admitted to the emergency room, and even higher rates of complications occurred with second trimester chemical abortion.
Moreover, without blood group screening before an abortion, a woman can also lose her ability to have future children. Fifteen percent of the population has an Rh negative blood group, and without receiving preventive vaccines, women with that blood group will develop antibodies that will attack future children when the blood mixes, such as during a miscarriage, to childbirth or abortion. Women will only know whether a chemical abortion will produce these antibodies if they are tested beforehand.
We also know that violent men have obtained abortion drugs to cover up their crimes or end the lives of children without their mother’s consent. In-person distribution can help ensure that a woman is not victimized or coerced.
All of these facts, in addition to the personal stories of many women, are presented in a new docu-series produced by Students for Life and Heartbeat International with the daughter of former Vice President Mike Pence, Charlotte. Doctors and experts detail what happens when women are subjected to these drugs. This series is being released to Congress as well as state lawmakers, to expand the list of states where SFLAction has worked to stop the unsafe online distribution of pills this session.
The United States is at a crossroads in its management of chemical abortion pills. Abortion advocates push to deregulate drugs, using the COVID-19 crisis as an excuse. FDA statements indicate the agency may reject health and safety standards for good this year.
Even if you support abortion, what’s the argument for making women less safe? A quick online sale benefits abortionists, not women. The medical profession does not apologize for the inconvenience caused by pain, delays, screening or blood tests done in the name of safety, unless it is an abortion.
The hypocrisy of deregulating chemical abortion pills while other drugs are tightly controlled is all the more infuriating as lives are on the line. Congress Must Call on FDA to Put Patient Safety Over Business Convenience .
Abortion does not deserve a regulatory exemption card.
Kristi Stone Hamrick is chief media and policy strategist for Students for Life of America and Students for Life Action.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.