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Media and medical groups misrepresent a study on abortion reversal treatment. The chemical abortion is dangerous, not the abortion pill reversal

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One might be led to believe that a recent study of abortion pill reversal (APR) demonstrated the process to be dangerous to women based on a cursory examination of the headlines. For instance, the Washington Post’s Christmas Eve headline read, “Some lawmakers push ‘abortion reversal’ treatments.

A study shows how dangerous they are.” However, this is not an accurate representation of the findings. Rather, it is a tactic employed by the abortion industry and its media allies to discredit the study and advance their agenda.

It is evident that the most dangerous aspect of undergoing a chemical abortion is the administration of the first drug without subsequent intervention. This contrasts with the abortion pill reversal protocol, which involves the administration of a second drug to neutralize the effects of the first. The APR protocol is a safer and more effective reversal method.

It is important to note that the aforementioned study demonstrated precisely this.

Babies being saved

Heartbeat International has reported that over 900 babies have been saved by APR. This method depends on a woman not taking the second drug (misoprostol) and boosting her progesterone levels.

In 2012, George Delgado and colleagues reported a few successful cases. In 2018, they published a study linking the APR method to 257 successful reversals and healthy births.

Noting the lack of success, noted abortion researcher and chemical advocate Mitchell Creinin announced that he would be conducting his own “scientific” study to determine whether abortion pill reversal was possible. The study began in December 2018 and was designed to involve 40 women randomly selected for either a progesterone boost (APR) or a placebo.

However, Creinin abruptly ended the study early after recruiting just 12 patients when three ended up in the hospital with bleeding issues. The article by Post reporter Kayla Epstein (picked up or cited by newspapers across the country) adopted Creinin’s spin and presented the results of the study in a different light.

Blaming APR for Mifepristone’s Problems

The article from The Post, when introducing Creinin’s study, fails to differentiate between the outcomes of women who underwent the APR protocol and those who did not. It merely states that “some of the women who participated in the study experienced dangerous hemorrhaging that sent them to the hospital.”

However, it’s essential to note a critical distinction here. Creinin’s patient data indicates that while there were instances of bleeding, they were primarily observed in the placebo group rather than in the APR group who received progesterone. Notably, two out of the three individuals who experienced the most severe bleeding events had not undergone the abortion pill reversal treatment.

Epstein seems to have the numbers wrong. She says two women were getting progesterone and only one was getting the placebo. Creinin’s study shows that two women had the worst bleeding when they got the placebo, not the progesterone.

The other patient who took the progesterone during the chemical abortion bled, but did not need surgery or a transfusion. The other two who took the placebo did not bleed.

The most serious bleeding issues were with the placebo patients who never received the progesterone boost.

This is a markedly divergent message from that disseminated by the press. The Post presents APR as a risk factor for severe bleeding, whereas the evidence points to mifepristone, the abortion pill, as the culprit. In fact, the APR progesterone boost appears to be associated with a lower bleeding risk. Furthermore, APR provides the baby with a better chance of survival.

APR Worked

The original objective of the investigation, namely to ascertain the efficacy of APR, has been largely overlooked. The study was prematurely terminated, and Creinin informed the Post that his team was unable to determine whether APR was effective. He conveyed to Epstein that he felt “really horrible” about being unable to complete the study, and that the women who participated had to endure the entire process.

It appears that Creinin has overlooked comments he made in an article published by Vice News on April 17, 2019. In that article, he outlined the criteria he would use to determine whether APR was effective:

“If there’s a difference between the groups and it shows that the group with the progesterone continued the pregnancy more and the group with the placebo lost the pregnancy more, then that shows the progesterone does something.”

Although the sample size is reduced due to the premature conclusion of the study, the findings align with Creinin’s original data. Of the five patients who received the APR progesterone boost, four (80%) remained pregnant at the end of the two-week trial period. In contrast, only two (40%) of the five patients who received only the mifepristone and the placebo were still pregnant at the end of the trial.

The Real Risk in Abortion Industry’s Protocol

In an attempt to redirect the focus, Creinin asserted that they had identified a “significant safety signal” regarding the disruption of the approved chemical abortion protocol. He posited that the limited data from his study indicated that “patients in early pregnancy who use only mifepristone may be at high risk of significant hemorrhage.”

The Post article presents this as a potential reversal option, but it is abortion advocates, not APR providers, who have suggested that taking mifepristone (the first drug) and simply foregoing the misoprostol (the second drug) would be just as effective as the progesterone boost (see Grossman, New England Journal of Medicine, 10/18/18).

It is evident that the counsel proffered by abortion pill advocates is both erroneous and perilous, given the findings of Creinin’s study.

If a woman takes mifepristone and subsequently changes her mind about abortion, it appears to be much safer and more effective for her to take the APR progesterone boost than to skip the misoprostol and hope the chemical abortion fails. This is based on the findings of a study by Creinin, which showed that the chemical abortion method was more effective when combined with the progesterone boost.

In his study, Creinin also highlighted the potential dangers of antiabortion laws, which he believed were pushing disinformation and unproven treatments. This suggests that it was abortion advocates who were pushing these treatments, rather than those who were seeking abortions. “They were asserting that women seeking to reverse their chemically-induced abortions could simply avoid taking any further drugs and hope that the mifepristone was ineffective. In contrast, the APR method with the progesterone boost referenced in these laws was demonstrated by Creinin’s own study to be both safer and more effective for these reversals.”

Medical Associations Ignore the Science

Epstein cites a statement from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) that claims of abortion reversal are not based on science and do not meet clinical standards. While providing a link, it does not explicitly inform the reader that the ACOG statement was released in August 2017, prior to the publication of a study by Delgado and colleagues in the Spring 2018 edition of the peer-reviewed journal Issues in Law & Medicine, which documented more than 250 successful cases of abortion pill reversal.

Additionally, American Medical Association President Patrice A. Harris joined in the chorus of criticism regarding laws requiring women to be informed about the abortion pill reversal procedure. In a July 2018 interview with the Washington Post, Harris asserted that such laws “actually compel physicians and other members of the healthcare team to provide patients with false or misleading information that is not based on evidence or science.”

A review of Delgado’s 2018 results and those from Creinin’s more recent study suggests that Delgado’s APR progesterone boost protocol aligns with the scientific evidence, whereas the abortion industry’s approach of “wait and see” is not supported by the available data.


Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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