By Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., NRL Director of Education & Research
While the nation tries to clear hospital schedules and reallocate medical personnel to handle the influx of Corona patients, abortion activists and politically corrupted medical groups are trying to exploit the crisis to keep the clinics running and move internet abortions forward.
Medical Establishment Defends Abortion as Essential
Two days ago, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and several other related medical groups reliably allied with the pro-abortion cause* issued a joint statement declaring that abortion should be considered “an essential component of comprehensive health care.” That is, a procedure that clinics and hospitals should continue to have available at a time when other elective and non-essential services are being delayed so that medical professionals can devote their precious time to COVID-19 patients.
They argued that abortion is a “time-sensitive” procedure where delays might make it more risky or “completely inaccessible” and said that an inability to obtain an abortion would “profoundly impact a person’s life, health, and well-being.”
In what almost sounds like a threat, the groups say that they do not support any COVID-19 responses “that cancel or delay abortion procedures.”
So invested are they in maintaining their capability to kill unborn children that they are not only appear willing to sit out the Corona public health crisis but also are willing to bring those pregnant women, most probably in excellent physical condition, into hospitals and clinics where they may be unnecessarily exposed to the COVID-19 risk.
ACOG and these groups seem unable to imagine that the best medical outcome would involve both mother and child surviving. Much better than a prescription of abortion and exposure is a medical community devoting its resources to treating the viral outbreak, with the mom foregoing elective, non-essential abortion so that both mother and baby live and thrive.
Saving lives. Isn’t that what medical care is supposed to be about?
Of course, that’s hardly the only effort to use the Corona crisis to push abortion.
Chemical Abortion Activists Want FDA to Drop Opposition to Telemedical Abortion
Earlier this week, Irish activists used travel limitations imposed by the European Union to argue for relaxed travel rules and new laws allowing the ordering abortion pills over the internet (https://www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/2020/03/irish-activists-use-corona-pandemic-to-push-internet-abortions). Not to be outdone, U.S. abortion activists have used the COVID-19 crisis to try to pressure the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to drop distribution restrictions that prevent women from obtaining the pills online.
Unlike other drugs that are sold in pharmacies and may be ordered, with a prescription, from online pharmacies, the FDA has (because of serious medical risks associated with their use) limited distribution of these abortion pills to the offices of doctors (or other medical professionals) who certify that they are familiar with the drug’s workings and its risks.
This is part of what is called the FDA’s Risk Evaluation Mitigation Strategy (REMS), which here prohibits the mailing of drugs to patient.
“Mifepristone must be dispensed to patients only in certain healthcare settings, specifically clinics, medical offices, and hospitals by or under the supervision of a certified prescriber,” the FDA’s REMS say. These requirements are in place “to ensure that the benefits of a drug or biological product outweigh its risks.”
Not surprisingly, abortion activists who are anxious to see these pills sold online and made widely available, object to these requirements.
They first sought to get around original FDA requirements by having women in some small store front video chat with an abortionist back in the big city (“webcam” abortions). He clicked a button and a drawer containing the pills popped open at her location.
More recently, they have been conducting a “study” in several states whereby a woman can log in from home and do the interview there, order the pills online, and have them shipped to her home. Activists want to be able to do this nationwide without restriction.
Daniel Grossman is the director of ANSIRH, the University of California San Francisco’s abortion research/advocacy group Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health. He is a prominent researcher who has pushed web-cam abortions and defended women self-aborting with abortion pills. He recently tweeted explicitly connecting the Corona virus and a call for abortions by “telemedicine” (3/18/20)
Grossman said “Patients don’t stop needing contraception and abortion care during a pandemic. As people are being asked to shelter in place across the nation, I explained to
@Rewire_News why it’s time that we expand access to telemedicine, including for abortion.”
The March 18, 2020 Rewire.news article calls “telemedicine” the “best option during the COVID-19 outbreak” for “increasing access to reproductive care.” Though expressing a concern that birth control prescriptions might “take a backseat” during the pandemic, they also worry, along with ACOG and its allies, that women will delay, or possibly forego, their abortions.
They call telemedicine “an alternative way to receive medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic that will “keep sick people from congregating but it also protects patients and practitioners.”
Grossman tells Rewire that “The effectiveness of medication abortions done by telemedicine is pretty much the same compared to having an in-person visit.” Rewire said Grossman said it could be a “lifeline during the pandemic.”
Dangers of Telemedical Abortion Ignored
Even setting aside his cruel misuse of the word “lifeline” for abortion’s killing and his callously opportunistic effort to use the pandemic to push his agenda, Grossman irresponsibly glosses over the problems associated with chemical abortions, ones that would only be exacerbated with telemedicine.
While claiming the “effectiveness” would be “pretty much the same” for telemedicine as an “in person visit,” Grossman fails to point out that these drugs do not work for a certain percentage or women and that a number of women face serious complications that for some have proven deadly.
This fact negates whatever “relief” telemedical abortion is supposed to provide a medical system being redeployed to fight the virus.
While some have claimed the mifepristone and misoprostol combination to be close to 98% effective, others have put efficacy at closer to 92%-93%. This is for babies earlier in gestations, however, and abortion pill advocates have been promoting and using the drugs later into pregnancy when the drugs are demonstrably less effective.
Even when they do “work,” the ordinary chemical abortion [“medication abortion”] comes with extensive bleeding, painful cramping, and considerable gastrointestinal distress. Sometimes women are hospitalized, sometimes they hemorrhage, have infections, or result in undetected ectopic pregnancy which can put women in the morgue.
When and if a woman has a relationship with and access to a doctor, particularly one who is familiar with her case, these complications can usually be treated. When she has never actually met her doctor [the abortionist] or undergone a physical examination, she may have to rely on her own understanding of her condition (“Is this amount of bleeding normal?” “Are these painful cramps from the pills or my body’s reaction to an infection or an ectopic pregnancy?”) and her ability to get emergency help.
It is stunningly irresponsible for the abortion industry along with those of their allies among the professional medical associations, to expect that these women can simply show up at their local ER, already overburdened with COVID-19 patients, and get treatment for their complications or failed abortions.
(That many of these abortion activists actually tell women that they don’t need to tell emergency room personnel that they have taken abortion pills and are having a reaction, but can pass it off as a miscarriage, makes it clear that agenda is a higher priority than patient safety.)
That doesn’t matter to abortion advocates. For them, this isn’t time to let a good crisis go to waste.
Pressuring the FDA
Dr. Grossman told Rewire, “I really hope that the FDA would consider at least temporarily lifting the Risk Evaluation Mitigation Strategy for mifepristone, and that states that have imposed bans on the use of telemedicine for medication abortion will also lift those,” Dr. Grossman said. “I think that’s really needed right now.”
Thankfully, the FDA hasn’t taken the bait.
“Certain restrictions, known as a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS), are necessary for mifepristone when used for medical termination of early pregnancy in order to ensure that the benefits of the drug outweigh its risks,” the FDA’s Office of Media Affairs told the online news blog VICE in response to a query (“Abortion Pill Restrictions Won’t Be Lifted During Pandemic, FDA Says” vice.com, 3/19/20), repeating the defense of the regulations that it has given since before the pandemic.
Grossman says he is only asking for the relaxed safeguards to be temporary. But he and other abortion activist make it clear they’d like it to be permanent and to go even further. Grossman is the director of ANSIRH, the University of California San Francisco’s abortion research/advocacy group Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health.
Their next suggestion? They say “mifepristone and misoprostol [the two drugs that make up the “medication abortion” technique]meet many of the FDA’s criteria for being available over the counter…. FDA approval of an OTC mifepristone-misoprostol product could dramatically increase access to medication abortion.”
That’s the real aim. It strains the imagination to think that anyone honestly sees telemedical abortion as the best way for American women to deal with the Corona virus.
But if they can somehow connect abortion to our public effort to eradicate the virus, they think they can knock down some of the last remaining barriers to absolute open, indiscriminate access to these deadly and dangerous abortion pills.
*The American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, the American Gynecological & Obstetrical Society, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the Society for Academic Specialists in General Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Society of Family Planning, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.