Abortion by Pill on the Rise, Putting Women’s Health at Greater Risk

By Anika Smith Published on November 2, 2016

A new study by Reuters found that the rate of women aborting their children by medication has greatly increased, citing “innovative dispensing efforts in some states,” including abortion prescriptions by webcam or over the phone.

Medication abortions rose from 35 percent of Planned Parenthood’s abortions in 2010 to 43 percent of their abortions in 2014. Reuters speculates that new federal prescribing guidelines for the abortion pill Mifeprex will make that rate even higher now. In the last few months, demand for medication abortions tripled in Ohio, Texas and North Dakota, the three states most affected by that change, with some clinics reporting that almost one-third of abortions are now performed with the drugs, the news service reported.

Abortion proponents tout the switch as a boon to women’s health and safety. Pro-life doctors are concerned that this is willful ignorance of the dangers women face when they abort without medical supervision.

“All of this suffering for women is for the convenience and profit of the abortionist.”

“Women who have had these abortions describe them far more difficult, painful, and bloody than the abortion industry led them to believe,” said Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., Director of Education & Research at National Right to Life, in an email to The Stream. “These abortions are not only bloody and painful, but dangerous. We already know of more than a dozen women, several of them by name, who have died after using these drugs to induce their abortions. Some have bled to death, some have had undiscovered ectopic pregnancies rupture and others have died from aggressive rare infections. The more it is used, the more women will be exposed to these dangers.”

While more clinics are advertising the pills as an easy way to end a pregnancy — one poster reads: “Abortion. Yeah, we do that.” — doctors warn that abortion by pill is more traumatic than these women are prepared for. “It isn’t just the shock and betrayal that they’ll feel when they begin to cramp and bleed, when the process and the pain drag on and on, but when they encounter their aborted babies, when they see with their own eyes the bodies of their children, their eyes, their tiny fists, when they realize the lies that they have been told and the enormous loss that has really taken place,” O’Bannon said.

Having these abortions by web-cam or by mail won’t make them any better, just more dangerous as women scramble to find medical help who understand and can treat the unique problems associated with chemical abortions. They act as if having this at home will make the process comfortable and cozy, but the reality is that a woman is more likely to feel alone and abandoned at precisely the time when she is most vulnerable, when she is in the most pain and the most danger, trying to figure out if what she’s going through is just ordinary bodily assault of the abortion or something even worse.

Donna Harrison, MD, executive director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, told The Stream in an email, “The continuous fantasy that drug induced abortions are simple is the oft repeated mantra of the abortion industry. Drug-induced abortions are neither safe nor easy.”

“The abortion industry wants to minimize knowledge about these risks, and minimize involvement of physicians, in order to keep down their costs and boost their income.”

Pro-life groups concerned for women’s safety warn that the new FDA guidelines mean the procedure will be riskier as doctors are not required to be physically present to the women to whom they prescribe the abortion pill. Abortion performed in an abortion facility by a doctor had its risks, O’Bannon noted, but the doctor knew them and how to treat them. “With web-cam abortions and abortions by mail, with abortionists getting less and less involved with their patients, it isn’t clear that any of this remains any more.”

Harrison cited a recent study in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, which found that “the most common presentation was excessive bleeding (77.5%). Severe anemia was found in 12.5% of the patients and 5% of patients presented with shock…62.5% of the patients were found to have incomplete abortion, 22.5% had failed abortion and 7.5% of patients had incomplete abortion with sepsis. Surgical evacuation was performed in 67.5% of the patients, whereas 12.5% of the patients required surgical evacuation with blood transfusion.”

The study recommended against unsupervised medical abortion. “The abortion industry wants to minimize knowledge about these risks, and minimize involvement of physicians, in order to keep down their costs and boost their income,” Harrison said. “It is tragic that women are misled about the serious complications, including at least a ten-times increased risk of death from drug-induced abortion as compared with surgical abortion.”

“All of this suffering for women is for the convenience and profit of the abortionist,” Harrison concluded.

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