By Nancy Flanders
Audio secretly recorded by journalist Emma Arns with Campus Reform has revealed that a University of Tennessee student group hosted an “Abortion Pill Training” event aimed at teaching students how to obtain abortion drugs despite state laws that protect preborn children from abortion.
The group, The University of Tennessee’s Women’s Coordinating Council, brought in Maxine Carwile — a former Planned Parenthood employee and the director of programs for Abortion Access Front — to teach a course from the pro-abortion organization “Self-Managed Abortions; Safe and Supported” (SASS). Carwile said learning to do a self-managed abortion is “important because abortion in a clinic is now illegal in Tennessee.”
She stated, “It doesn’t actually say in Tennessee law that ending a pregnancy on a person’s own is illegal, but that doesn’t mean we should assume it’s legal either.” She cited a state law from the 1800s that prohibited the act of attempting to cause a miscarriage.
“Trust no one”
Multiple times throughout her talk, Carwile advised students that the “most important thing on earth is if somebody ever does end their own pregnancy or help someone end their own pregnancy, they need to keep their mouth absolutely, completely shut. Trust no one, basically.”
She noted that women may go to the hospital after taking abortion pills out of concern regarding how much they are bleeding or any other complications they may be experiencing. In those cases, she fears that doctors or other medical personnel will violate patient/doctor privacy laws and call the police.
Though pro-abortion propaganda has long claimed that an abortion is between a woman and her doctor, Carwile now finds it appropriate to turn doctors — the very people who must help women survive and heal from abortion complications — into the enemy.
“So medical professionals, above all else, should not be confided in,” said Carwile. “… Medication abortion via pills shows up exactly the same as a miscarriage. The course of treatment for any complications is exactly the same as a miscarriage so the most important thing for anyone to know is to say over and over again to any medical professionals, family, friends, anyone at all, ‘I am having a miscarriage.’”
This, of course, also skews the reporting of abortion statistics and complications, instead attributing those complications to natural miscarriage — but this is apparently of little consequence to abortion advocates.
Even if the woman is having an allergic reaction to the abortion pills, Carwile urges them not to tell medical professionals that they took abortion drugs. She also recommends they swallow misoprostol instead of inserting it into the vagina — but not because vaginal insertion can increase the risk of infection for the woman (as some results suggest). She is more concerned about the hospital staff discovering residue from the drugs during a pelvic exam because that would be “evidence” of an illegal abortion.
Ordering abortion pills is a “beautiful miracle”?
Carwile said today in post-Roe America “isn’t like the days prior to Roe v. Wade where the only options were a lot more harmful like coat hangers or bleach or knitting needles. We have abortion pills that are super accessible and cheap, if not free, and ordering online is a beautiful miracle. We have a medically safe way for people on their own to end their pregnancies.”
But research has shown the abortion pill to be four times more dangerous for women than a first-trimester surgical abortion. In addition, three separate studies found that about six percent of women who took the abortion pill required a visit to the emergency room or urgent care for complications. Women have shared both the physical and emotional trauma that taking the abortion pill caused them.
Abortion pill safety myths
Carwile went on to verbally attack pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) and needlessly warn attendees against the process of Abortion Pill Reversal, calling pro-life pregnancy centers “the devil” and saying she “hates them.”
She then shared a phone app and website that discusses protocol for abortion pill use after 12 weeks (the abortion pill was originally approved by the FDA for use up to seven weeks and has never been FDA approved beyond 10 weeks). She warned using the abortion pill after 12 weeks is “not advised” because “then the person would have to ask complicated questions like, ‘What if the pregnancy’s too large to flush down the toilet? Is the person going to have to be able to see discernable body parts in the pregnancy? How is that going to make them feel?’ And also, pushing out a larger pregnancy, it’s just a lot harder on the body…. so not advised, but still an option.” (emphasis added)
Carwile said that if the woman takes just the mifepristone and then changes her mind, it can be “very dangerous” for her and she must take the misoprostol finish the abortion. But the dangers of mifepristone exist, with or without misoprostol. She claims Abortion Pill Reversal is the attempt of pregnancy centers to appear “more legitimate and they don’t seem to care that they’re actually putting people’s lives in danger.”
Yet there appears to be no evidence that a woman has died from taking progesterone in the short-term, which has been used for years to help sustain the pregnancies of women who are at risk of miscarriage.
However, on January 4, 2023, the FDA updated its statistics on the abortion pill, writing that “As of June 30, 2022, there were 28 reports of deaths in patients associated with mifepristone since the product was approved in September 2000, including two cases of ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy located outside the womb, such as in the fallopian tubes) resulting in death; and several fatal cases of severe systemic infection (also called sepsis).”*
Just last year, a young mother died from sepsis after obtaining the abortion pill at Planned Parenthood.
Carwile encourages the students to break the law, arguing that it isn’t illegal to order pills, but it’s what someone does with them that is either legal or illegal. Still, she advises the students to use a VPN or a secure web browser in order to cover their tracks when ordering abortion pills. As an example, she refers to a case in Nebraska in which Facebook messages were used to arrest a mother who ordered abortion pills for her daughter. Her daughter was 23 weeks pregnant at the time she took the abortion pills — meaning the baby was viable, and an abortion at that late gestational age was illegal. After the baby was born, they put him or her in a plastic bag, threw the child’s body into the car, and then burned it before burying it.
Jane Gann, a freshman at the university, attended the “Abortion Pill Training,” and told Campus Reform that Carwile’s rhetoric “preys on college-aged girls.”
She added, “The promotion of potentially dangerous drugs and blatant recommendations to lie to licensed doctors to evade the law is seriously harmful to young women on campus who may be pregnant and seeking help.”