HomeoldAfter being sold lies about the safety of abortion pills, women find...

After being sold lies about the safety of abortion pills, women find themselves in ER

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It has been estimated that chemical abortions now account for the deaths of over 50% of the babies lost to abortion. The reasons for this significant increase are numerous, but it is likely that the most significant factor is the dissemination of false information that “medication abortions” are “safe” and, indeed, “safer than Tylenol.”

The topic of chemical abortions has been extensively discussed in numerous articles published by this journal. The most exemplary work is that of Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon, the Director of Education & Research at the National Right to Life Committee.

In a recent publication, he posited that even a small number of women experiencing complications from the use of these pills, such as hemorrhage, infection, or ectopic pregnancy, represents a significant number of women in need of immediate medical attention, which may or may not be available in their vicinity. For further information, please refer to the NRLC white paper on the myths surrounding the FDA’s approval and management of mifepristone (generic for Mifeprex).

On Wednesday, Ryan Mills of National Review Online published a comprehensive and detailed overview of the potential dangers of chemical abortion in a post titled “Women Turn to Emergency Rooms after ‘Being Sold Lies’ about Abortion-Pill Safety.” I will now briefly summarize the author’s findings.

He commences with the experience of Dr. Christina Francis, the CEO of the Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. She recounts to Mills the account of a young woman who presented at the labour and delivery unit of a Fort Wayne, Indiana hospital where Francis was employed a few years ago. The patient was in a critical condition and appeared to be suffering from acute kidney injury.

Mills writes

The woman, who arrived at A&E with a baby in her arms, explained the situation to Francis: pregnant and desperate, she’d gone online and ordered a course of abortion pills. The website from which she had ordered the pills told her they would arrive from India in three to four weeks. She had not been given a thorough assessment. She hadn’t been told about the risks of the pills. She didn’t even know the name of the drug she was taking,” Francis told National Review.

The woman needed a D&C, or dilation and curettage, to empty her uterus. Francis had to call in a back-up doctor to deal with another emergency in the labour ward.

Fortunately, the woman survived the incident. However, Francis noted that her case

“highlights many of the problems with the increasing use of abortion pills: They’re often dispensed, in many cases online, without proper assessment or counselling. Women who take the pills, often shocked by the bleeding and pain they experience, go to local emergency rooms for treatment. In some cases, they experience serious and sometimes life-threatening complications. And they often don’t get proper follow-up care, and in the case of many online pill sellers, no follow-up care at all.

The negative impact of Mills’ story is a topic that warrants further examination. It is highly recommended that you read this text.

In recent years, the FDA has increased the risks associated with mifepristone by making it much easier to obtain and has removed critical safeguards for women.

To illustrate, the FDA relaxed the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) requirements for the drug, thereby enabling it to be dispensed and even mailed by pharmacies. In the 5th Circuit opinion, it is stated that prior to the changes made in 2012 and 2023, the FDA removed four of the original safety restrictions.

(1) increasing the maximum gestational age at which a woman can use the drug from 49 to 70 days; (2) reducing the number of required face-to-face office visits from three to one; (3) allowing non-physicians to prescribe and administer the chemical abortion drugs; and (4) eliminating the requirement for prescribers to report non-fatal adverse events from chemical abortion.”

Although the pharmacies are still in the process of fulfilling their REMS requirements, those engaged in teleabortion and abortion by mail have been legally permitted to ship these pills to individuals’ residences for nearly two years (not including all the official studies and trials that had FDA approval prior to this period).

In the meantime, there is an ongoing challenge to the FDA’s approval of the two-drug abortion pill regimen back in 2000. One of the plaintiffs in the case is the Dr. Francis’s Association.

The case reached a pivotal point with the April 7 decision by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk to suspend FDA approval of mifepristone, the first of the two drug abortion regimens. He accepted the argument of the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine that the FDA had fast-tracked the approval of mifepristone through a process intended for the treatment of life-threatening illnesses.

Judge Kacsmaryk granted a temporary stay for one week, allowing the government to appeal the decision. The government promptly filed an appeal.

On 12 April, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted a partial stay, pending appeal. The 5th Circuit upheld the portion of Judge Kacsmaryk’s order requiring the FDA to reinstate previous safeguards for chemical abortion drugs. The Biden administration appealed to the Supreme Court, which, on the following Friday, ordered a temporary halt to proceedings.

It is noteworthy that, coincidentally, 20 minutes after Judge Kacsmaryk delivered his ruling, the Democratic attorneys general of 17 states and the District of Columbia were successful in obtaining an injunction from U.S. District Judge Thomas Rice in Spokane. He issued a ruling that ordered the FDA to maintain access to mifepristone in those states, regardless of any conflicting court decisions. Furthermore, he prohibited the FDA from implementing any additional restrictions on mifepristone in their respective states.

A hearing on the merits is scheduled to take place before the full Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals next week.


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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