". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13

Commentary

Chemical Abortion: the Greatest Threat to the Unborn in a Post-Roe World

June 17, 2022

The abortion industry has always been about one thing — profits. No organization knows this better than Planned Parenthood.

Originally founded as a birth control organization, Planned Parenthood began carrying out abortions in 1970. Since that time, the organization has shifted to almost entirely focusing on abortion — with cancer screening and prevention programs, breast exams, prenatal services, and adoptions declining significantly as abortions increased.

Over the years, Planned Parenthood has figured out a way to reduce expenses and increase revenue. Their cash cow — chemical abortion.

Chemical abortions are accomplished through a pill regimen of mifepristone (distributed under the brand name Mifeprex®) and misoprostol. Because these abortions are carried out through the use of drugs, abortion businesses that push them can reduce overhead costs while increasing profits. For example, since chemical abortion’s legalization in 2000, Planned Parenthood’s brick and mortar businesses have decreased from 875 to 563. In that same time period, revenue have increased from $672 million to $1.641 billion.

For many years, misoprostol, which was originally produced by a subsidiary of the chemical company that manufactured the cyanide gas for Nazi death camps, remailed illegal in the United States. However after President Clinton took executive action ordering the FDA to expedite their review of the abortion drug, in 2000 mifepristone was approved for abortion usage.

Along with its approval, the FDA declared the abortion drug was subject to certain distribution restrictions because it carries with it life-threatening and health-endangering risks, such as hemorrhage, infection, incomplete pregnancy, retained fetal parts, the need for emergency surgery, and even death. Over the years, these restrictions were weakened and converted to Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies, otherwise known as REMS.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the REMS were suspended, and in December 2022, the Biden administration removed perhaps the most live-saving portion — the in person dispensing requirement enabling a health care provider to assess patient eligibility, diagnose ectopic pregnancies, and provide or facilitate emergency surgical intervention in the case of an incomplete abortion or severe bleeding.

The suspension of the REMS had a devastating impact — giving a preview of what is to come if the pro-life movement does not act protecting life. According to data released from Guttmacher Institute, the 2020 U.S. abortion rate increased by 7 percent. During that same timeframe, chemical abortion accounted for 54% of all abortions as opposed to just 24% less than 10 years earlier.

Chemical abortion’s steep rise in popularity is likely because it is easy to attain and appears commonplace and safe.

Planned Parenthood contends these pill form drugs are, “similar to a miscarriage, many people feel like it’s more “natural and less invasive” than say, a dismemberment abortion.

Certainly, there may be times when the effects of chemical abortion appear like miscarriage, but what Planned Parenthood failed to add, is that having a miscarriage is a life changing tragedy. I know. I had one.

In my case, there was blood, pain, and the visible passing of my unborn child. The mental anguish I experienced as I held my tiny, miscarried baby in the palm of my hand is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Miscarriage is horrible. Chemical abortion can only be worse.

But Planned Parenthood doesn’t actually care about how terrible abortion is for both a mother and her child. They care about making money and pushing their agenda on the nation.

Since 1973, the abortion industry has relied on Roe v. Wade to ensure no state can protect a child in the womb. With Roe in jeopardy, chemical abortion is undoubtedly their back-up plan.

Thanks to President Biden’s removal of the in-person dispensing requirement, chemical abortion drugs can be mailed from anywhere to anywhere — endangering unborn children and their mothers even in states where the laws protect them.

Because of the weakening of the REMS, in most states across the country, chemical abortion complications are only voluntarily reported, allowing the abortion industry to maintain the façade that chemical abortion is safe.

Yet, 2020 data from Arkansas — a state that requires abortion complication reporting — shows that 88.9 percent of Arkansas’s abortion complications are the result of chemical abortions.

If the Dobbs decision overturns Roe, a simple increase in “voluntary reporting” will allow pro-abortionists to manipulate the data to give the illusion that laws protecting unborn children’s lives place women in danger — when really, chemical abortion has placed both lives in danger all along.

State legislators must take action to protect women and unborn children from chemical abortion by passing legislation protecting unborn children beginning at the moment of conception — and then, by courageously enforcing these laws, taking down death drug dealers like Planned Parenthood.

But state laws alone will not be enough to stop the push of chemical abortion. Congress must pass legislation protecting unborn children in the womb so that all around the country those attempting to smuggle death-inducing chemical abortion drugs from one state to the next will be brought to justice.

Since 1973, pro-lifers have been fighting for life. As we approach a post-Roe world, the battle is shifting. Chemical abortion is the greatest threat to unborn life in America. The pro-life movement must respond by passing legislation defending unborn children’s lives, supporting moms and dads in need, and eliminating funding for any business targeting defenseless children in the womb.

Mary Szoch is the Director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council.