As U.S. FDA loosens abortion pill regulations, India warns of self-managed abortion dangers

By Nancy Flanders 

Abortion is legal in India, and so is the use of the abortion pill. Though women are technically required to see a doctor first to receive a prescription for the deadly drug regimen, many women are going straight to pharmacists to get the abortion pill, and they are paying a heavy price both financially and physically.

The abortion pill has been found to be four times more dangerous for women than a first-trimester surgical abortion. Twenty-six known women in the United States alone have died in association with the use of the abortion pill, according to the latest serious adverse events report from the FDA.*

What is perhaps most shocking is that at the same time medical officials in India are stressing that self-managed abortions are dangerous without preliminary testing or doctor’s supervision, in the United States, the abortion industry has successfully pushed for a “no-test” abortion pill protocol — which requires no ultrasound to determine the location or gestational age of the preborn child, and no blood tests of any kind. This, of course, puts women at even greater risk.

At-home abortion considered “unsafe abortion” in India

The Kashmir Monitor shared the stories of two women who took the abortion pill and required emergency care afterward. Rehana (name changed) was experiencing abnormal bleeding after aborting her third child using the abortion pill. 

“She came to us with the complaint of prolonged periods,” the doctor treating her explained. “We asked her to go for a Gravindex test, which is an agglutination inhibition test performed on a urine sample to detect pregnancy. It came positive. The ultrasonography also showed traces of incomplete abortion and retained products of conception.”

Likewise, another woman aborted her second baby because her husband wanted to avoid the financial responsibility of another child. The abortion pill resulted in an incomplete abortion for her as well. Incomplete abortion from the abortion pill can lead to infection and even death for women.

Dr. Rumisa Mir, Medical officer at Sub-district hospital Char-Sharif told The Kashmir Monitor that taking the abortion pill without the supervision of a doctor is dangerous. “Every month we receive at least 10 married females at the OPDs with the complications developed due to unsafe abortion,” she said.

“Usually the first pill is given to disrupt the pregnancy and after 24 to 72 hours another set of pills is given to start the bleeding. Lots of tests are done before giving these pills. We check hemoglobin levels, have to rule out other medical disorders, and monitor side effects,” she continued. But because the abortion pill is easily accessible without seeing a doctor, she explained, “Many come to us with heavy bleeding and there’s a chance of hemorrhage, which could turn fatal.”

Known as the medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) kit in India, the abortion pill includes the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol.

“The risk involved is high” 

According to the Hindustan Times, the law states that a doctor must be consulted for an abortion prior to 12 weeks and two doctors must be consulted for an abortion between 12 and 20 weeks.

“A gynaecologist first conducts a sonography to confirm there is a pregnancy and to decide by how many weeks. If the woman then wants to terminate the pregnancy within the legal time period, she is given the prescription [for the abortion pill]. It can sometimes lead to incomplete abortion causing heavy bleeding. This can prove fatal for the woman, especially if she is a minor,” said Dr. Ramesh Bharmal, dean of BYL Nair Hospital.

Dr. Nausheen Khan, a gynecologist at Lal Ded Hospital agrees. “MTP is performed by experienced professionals and gynecologists because even if the procedure is minor, the risk involved is high. It is important to visit a gynaecologist because there can be numerous complications regarding the abortion and before proceeding further one needs to check all the risks associated with medical termination of pregnancy,” she said.

Black market sales of abortion pill

As concerns grew among medical professionals in India over the non-prescription sales of the abortion pill, the Maharashtra FDA inspected 384 medical shops between July and August and arrested 11 people in connection with such sales. The FDA focused on districts with a skewed sex ratio due to the sex selective abortions of baby girls and will expand their investigation to other districts as well.

Meanwhile, a European abortionist has been sending the abortion pill to the U.S. through India in an effort to skirt pro-life state laws like the Texas Heartbeat Act. Amsterdam-based abortionist Rebecca Gomperts founded both Women on Waves and Aid Access, organizations that dispense abortion pills to women in countries where abortion is restricted. 

Now, the Biden-Harris administration is joining her in endangering women’s lives. It has repealed the safety rules regarding the abortion pill that were put in place to protect women’s health — including the requirement to see a doctor before taking the abortion pill — to allow the abortion pill to be dispensed by mail.

In India, doctors are begging women to see a doctor before accessing the abortion pill regimen, but in the U.S., the abortion industry allies in Biden’s FDA have put profit over women’s health by ensuring women don’t see a doctor first.

Editor’s note. This appeared at live action news and is reposted with permission.