Abortion Pill Revisited


Already this year, chemical abortions have surpassed the number of surgical abortions in the United States. Many women have resorted to ordering the "abortion pill" online, which is actually a two-pill regimen: mifepristone, which is a progesterone blocker, depriving the baby of nutrients and oxygen; and misoprostol, which makes the uterus contract and expel the baby.

Obtaining chemical abortion drugs is fairly easy, but should this be the case?

An OB/GYN working in the labor and delivery unit of a Fort Wayne, Indiana, hospital explains that many women end up in the ER after taking the pills. One of her patients, a young woman in her 20s, arrived at the ER with heavy vaginal bleeding after attempting a chemical abortion. Her labs were abnormal, she showed signs of having an infection in her uterus, and she appeared to be in the early stages of acute kidney injury. The patient required surgery to empty her uterus.

This is not an isolated incident. Emergency room visits made by pregnant women have increased by more than 500% since 2002.

In the year 2000, the abortion pill was made legal in the United States. Recognizing the danger these chemical abortion drugs posed, the FDA added a black box warning—"may lead to death and serious injury"-- along with specific instructions. The drug regimen required a doctor's prescription and at least three office visits throughout the process. Doctors did not prescribe the chemical abortion drugs to a woman who was over seven weeks pregnant.

In 2016, the FDA pushed the gestational limit to ten weeks, while simultaneously halting the requirement that complications be reported. The FDA also dropped the requirement that physicians were the only ones who could dispense the drugs, while reducing the number of doctor visits required from three to one.

In 2021, the in-person dispensation requirement was removed by the FDA.

Without adequate medical care, the consequences of taking the pills could be catastrophic in a number of ways. International studies have found the following:

  • Notable adverse events including retained product of conception, bleeding, hemorrhage, infection, ongoing pregnancy
  • An ectopic pregnancy could be missed, as a ruptured ectopic pregnancy and a chemical abortion have similar symptoms. Ruptured ectopic pregnancies, if not treated immediately, could lead to death.
  • Chemical abortions have four times the rate of complications of surgical abortions.
  • 1 in 5 women will experience significant enough bleeding to require medical attention.
  • Up to 8% of women will require surgical completion of her abortion. This percentage increases drastically when baby is beyond 10 weeks gestation.
  • Failure rates increase with increasing gestational age, making it more dangerous: 8% at 7 weeks or less; 17% at 7-8 weeks; 23% at 8-9 weeks.

From black box warning to vending machine availability, there currently exists NO MEDICAL OVERSIGHT in the U. S. with regard to these drugs.

Women and their families deserve better. 

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