What About Abortion Pills?
Pill abortions, also termed “medication abortions”, pose a number of problems for the women taking them. The most obvious is that, while it is marketed in lighter terms, it is killing her own child. The others all flow from that. Abortion pills are presented as an easy solution for women facing unwanted pregnancy's. It seems easy - just take 2 pills! And convenient - you can take the second one at home! And secretive - no one but you and the doctor need to know that you were ever pregnant. Additionally, advocates of pill abortions have been working on stripping the already lax FDA regulations surrounding the drugs so that women can make use of telemedicine to secure a prescription and so that it can be used on older babies. Let's work through these issues one by one.
Like a surgical abortion, medication abortions kill a preborn human being. This is the biggest issue. Why spend any time on this when its so obvious? Because places like Planned Parenthood describe them as “bringing down your period.” If women are supposed to make their own decisions about their bodies, why is Planned Parenthood purposely hiding the truth from them?
Unlike surgical abortions, medication abortions are done partially or totally at home by the woman. Most of the time, she goes into the abortion clinic for pre-abortion “counseling,” an ultrasound, and then takes the first pill while she’s there. She walks out the door with the 2nd medication or a prescription for it and is supposed to take it within 72 hours. (This gap in time is when the Abortion Pill Rescue protocol can be enacted.) The first pill starves the baby to death, the second one causes contractions to expel the (supposed to be) dead baby. If you’ve done the timeline in your head, that means that she is delivering her dead baby by herself at home or in a hotel room. The repercussions of this are so immense and far reaching (like not going to the hospital when she needs to because she feels guilty or unworthy of help) that it deserves its own blog post.
Pill abortions have a very limited range of success that is dependent on the baby’s age. Up to 10 weeks is the extent of when they’re supposed to be used because the rate of complications becomes far higher as the baby gets bigger. They also have an additional complication in that the abortionist must be sure that the baby isn’t implanted in the fallopian tube (or another non-uterine location) because it won't be effective if it's an ectopic pregnancy. If she gets a positive pregnancy test, doesn’t realize its an ectopic pregnancy, takes a pill abortion and then thinks she’s in the clear, her life is at risk because of the impeding rapture as the baby grows or because of infection because the deceased baby wasn’t expelled by the contractions.
Because it is a set of pills, it can be dissolved. There have been news reports of disgruntled boyfriends sneaking abortion pills into their girlfriends’ drinks. All of a sudden she’s (it appears to her) miscarrying her sweet little baby. Add to this the issues in #3 above. And then on top of that factor in that when she goes to the emergency room or her doctor because she’s bleeding heavily and passing blood clots, she wont know to tell them that it was induced by drugs and her care providers will be missing a major piece to the puzzle.
Telemedicine has been gaining popularity especially since the COVID shutdowns. There are certain things, however, for which it should never be used. Abortion pill prescriptions is one of those. We fought off this ruling in Indiana last year. Pro-abortion advocates should be against the use of telemedicine just as ardently as we are. Why? For one, there’s no way for the doctor to do an ultrasound via zoom and if the policy is that she brings an ultrasound it, how can you possibly guarantee that it is hers? Women could be posing in order to get prescriptions for other people in situations where its (more) unsafe (than usual) for it to be used, or situations like #4 above. Second, the doctor cannot see what her life situation is. We can’t see in our meetings if our coworkers are wearing dress pants or swim trunks so how in the world is an abortionist going to be able to tell if someone is forcing her into the abortion (which is illegal) or if she’s being abused and has bruises and cuts all over, or if someone is trafficking her and holding her driver’s license as well as her person hostage? That is just the first layer of danger that telemedicine for abortion would add to women’s shoulders.
A black market already exists for abortion pills. Virtuous people doing virtuous things do not need a black market in civilized societies. This market will undoubtedly expand as abortion bans pass in individual states. Does that mean we shouldn’t ban abortion? No. It means we should watch carefully, enforce drug trafficking laws, and write additional protections and means of legal recourse for victims, and penalties for traffickers, providers and purchasers into our bans. Similar to any other issue - you could use human trafficking or rape or child abuse as an example here - fighting and prosecuting the drug trade is the answer, not legalizing it.
A note of clarification: the drugs used in a medication abortion are mifepristone and misoprostol. Some of you may recognize those names from your own prescription records. Mifepristone is a progesterone blocker and can also be used to treat other problems, such as hyperglycemia in patients with Cushing's syndrome. Misoprostol causes uterine contractions. Many women who have miscarried but whose bodies have not gone into labor naturally to deliver the deceased baby are prescribed misoprostol to help the process along. Neither of these drugs are evil in and of themselves, it is the manner in which they are used that dictates that. Both of the situations described above are perfectly ethical uses of mifepristone and misoprostol. Using them in combination to kill and then expel a fetus is not ethical.
Please keep your senses sharp to language or situations that would tip you off to someone pursuing a pill abortion. They are likely being deceived into thinking that it is an easy, ethical route to dealing with the emergency they’re in. Optionline.org is a great way to connect them to real care but you can always reach out to us at Right to Life as well.