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


Abortion Pill Expansion Put ‘Women’s Health and Safety Last’: Researcher

March 20, 2024

Nearly two out of three abortions carried out in the United States last year took place via abortion pills — a method post-abortive mothers have said inflicted “the worst physical pain of my life” and forced them to “experience the trauma again every time I used the bathroom.” The abortion pills have produced so many fetal deaths and seriously harmful side effects for women that one researcher told The Washington Stand the growing number of chemical abortions represents “a tragedy.”

Chemical abortions represented 63% of all abortions in 2023 — up from 53% in 2020. The two-pill regimen of mifepristone and misoprostol inflicted 642,700 of the estimated 1,026,690 abortions tracked by the U.S. health care system last year, according to the latest Monthly Abortion Provision Study produced by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute. The study showed the number of pill-induced abortions — which present lower costs for abortion facilities but greater complications for mothers — has grown by 450% since 2005.

Post-abortive mothers have reported profound physical and psychological side effects from taking the abortion pills, especially in the case of self-managed chemical abortions, which often take place on the toilet.

A woman using the name “Patricia” said a Planned Parenthood abortionist told her the abortion pill regimen was safe, and complications were rare. “Within one hour I knew that everything the doctor had told me was a lie. I was bleeding so heavily, I believed I was dying. I was passing clots the size of baseballs, and I was in the worst physical pain of my life, worse than childbirth,” she wrote. But the worst pain came when “I looked into the toilet and saw my baby. It had a head, body, and tiny arms and legs,” she wrote. “The shame and guilt … I felt … as I was forced to flush my aborted baby down the toilet, is impossible to describe.” Three weeks later, she found out the pills had failed to expel all of her child’s body, leading to future mass blood loss and necessitating weekly OB-GYN visits.

A woman who chose not to give her name said, “I was on the shower floor SCREAMING, throwing up, bleeding everywhere, the pain was unbearable and unimaginable … and I have had brain surgery!!!” “NOBODY prepared me for the HUGE amount of blood and chunks, the intense excruciating pain, the nausea.” She felt as though she “almost wanted to die,” she recalled. “It was the most traumatic thing I have ever experienced, and I still feel a sense of being numb.”

A woman named Kelly Lester echoed their sentiments: “The bleeding and the pain started almost immediately, and it was intense. The pain lasted for two days, and I felt like I was in full-blown labor. I was alone, in one of my bathrooms in my apartment. I was doing drugs just to try to numb the pain. And in the end, I ultimately broke my lease and moved out, because I couldn’t stand to be in the apartment any longer and experience the trauma again every time I used the bathroom.”

The Guttmacher Institute, originally founded as a sister organization of Planned Parenthood and named after a eugenicist who spoke at Ku Klux Klan rallies, hailed this statistic as proof of “gains in access to and use of medication abortion.”

Those are three of 32 stories related in a recent Supreme Court legal filing in the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — and they are far from alone.

A 16-year-old black girl, whose name we’re withholding, underwent two abortions in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens which caused her to become “sick, sore, lame and disabled.” The staff at New York City’s Choices Women’s Medical Center (formerly the Flushing Women’s Center) did not administer a follow-up pregnancy test, and the girl learned her child had survived the abortion pill. The teen subsequently gave birth to a baby with “severe brain injuries” and other “profound birth defects,” according to a lawsuit she filed against the facility.

In all, the FDA documented 4,207 adverse events from mifepristone use — including 26 deaths, 1,045 hospitalizations, 603 events requiring a blood transfusion, and 413 infections between 2000 and 2021, despite watering down reporting requirements and ignoring any side effects short of death in 2016.

The statistic is “nothing short of a tragedy,” Tessa Longbons Cox, senior research associate at Charlotte Lozier Institute, told The Washington Stand. “We know from major international studies that abortion drugs pose four times the risks of surgical abortion, but the abortion lobby consistently downplays these risks that undermine their narrative.”

The alliance argues the FDA’s expedited approval process in the waning days of the Clinton administration in 2000 violated the Administration Procedure Act and should be reversed. U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ruled in their favor, and the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals largely upheld his decision. “In loosening mifepristone’s safety restrictions, FDA failed to address several important concerns about whether the drug would be safe for the women who use it,” wrote Judge Jennifer Elrod in the majority opinion.

The Guttmacher report revealed that overturning FDA approval of mifepristone threatens the abortion industry’s bottom line: 40% of all abortion facilities rely exclusively on the abortion pill for their business. Nearly one-third of all abortion facilities distributed the life-taking drugs after only a virtual online appointment in 2022, a 440% increase in two years. Eight percent of all abortion facilities are exclusively online abortion distribution facilities, the report noted. 

“My [a]dministration will fight this ruling,” vowed President Joe Biden personally after Judge Kacsmaryk’s ruling last April. The Biden administration has since appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court. Oral arguments begin next Tuesday, March 26.

The Biden administration had already expedited the process of abortion pill distribution, lifting the need for an in-person visit in 2021, purportedly due to COVID-19. But the Biden administration then made the rule final. The Biden administration certified pharmacies to distribute the abortion pill cocktail alongside antibiotics, a few aisles away from diapers.

Two days after Christmas 2022, Biden’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) issued an opinion that pharmacies may mail or ship abortion pills to pro-life states in violation of The Comstock Act (18 U.S. Code § 1461 and 1462).

“While Guttmacher’s report doesn’t count abortion drugs illegally mailed into pro-life states from other states with so-called ‘shield laws,’ other research suggests these account for a large share of mail-order abortions,” Cox told TWS. “Given the FDA’s recent push to deregulate these drugs and not requiring an in-person visit, what we’re witnessing is a new abortion landscape that prioritizes putting women’s health and safety last.”

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.