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Anti-Trump Attorney General Sues Pro-Life Center for Abortion Pill Reversal

May 1, 2024

Pro-life pregnancy resource centers — which have faced dozens of vicious attacks, from vandalism to firebombings — are now defending themselves on another front: the court room. On Tuesday, they fought back for their constitutional rights and the right of mothers to carry wanted babies to a healthy delivery.

On April 22, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) sent a Notices of Intention to Sue pro-life centers for allegedly making “misleading statements and omissions in the advertising of the Abortion Pill Reversal (‘ARP’) protocol.” The brief notice cited no specific lie or medical error, but gave targeted pro-life women’s centers five business days to respond to her, explaining “why [legal] proceedings should not be commenced” against them. On Tuesday, a group of a dozen pro-life women’s centers filed a legal brief denouncing threats of an impending lawsuit. The 66-page verified complaint, filed in the Supreme Court of New York by the Thomas More Society, says the threatened lawsuit violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

In a chemical abortion, the mother ingests two drugs: The first agent, the abortion pill mifepristone, stops the flow of progesterone and nutrition to the unborn child. The second pill, misoprostol, induces extreme cramps and contractions that may crush, and then expel, the child’s body from her mother’s womb. The process often takes place on a toilet.

“If a pregnant mother takes the abortion drug, mifepristone, but has not yet taken misoprostol, there is a chance that her abortion can be reversed through the use of progesterone,” Mary Szoch, director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, told The Washington Stand. “By adding supplemental progesterone, a doctor may be able to reverse the effects of the drug and save the baby’s life.” 

Pro-life medical authorities say taking progesterone after ingesting mifepristone may help women continue wanted pregnancies.

“For pregnant mothers who have changed their mind about abortion, the option of abortion pill reversal is a godsend,” Szoch told TWS.

And, with the growing availability of abortion pills, mothers may have been surreptitiously slipped the pill by abusers, boyfriends, parents, or traffickers.

Unlike the abortion pill, “progesterone is completely safe for both the mother and the baby. In fact, many women, including myself, take progesterone throughout pregnancy to sustain their unborn child’s life, because their body isn’t producing enough progesterone naturally,” revealed Szoch.

On Tuesday, the pro-life centers targeted by James returned fire in court, as well as the court of public opinion. Peter Breen, executive vice president of the Chicago-based Thomas More Society, called the notice “a transparent attempt to harass small pro-life charities into silence, targeting her political opponents because of their beliefs.”

“This is a political witch-hunt against small nonprofits that have selflessly served New York’s pregnant women and their children for over 50 years. Letitia James should be heralding these charities, not launching outrageously false claims against them under laws that don’t apply to their noncommercial speech,” said Breen in a statement emailed to TWS.

James, who briefly launched a failed bid for governor, has a history of suing her political opponents. She famously filed a civil suit against presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, claiming he led a 15-year-long “scheme to defraud” the federal government by overvaluing his property. She threatened legal action in February against Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman for protecting women’s sports from male athletes who say they identify as female. She has also filed lawsuits against conservative institutions such as the National Rifle Association and an immigration limitation group. James has successfully pressured Google to note that pro-life centers “may not provide abortions,” as James claimed failure to make any distinction amounted to the “dangerous amplification of fake pregnancy centers.” Rhetoric employed by the likes of James is only “going to embolden and foment violence,” Rev. Jim Harden, CEO of CompassCare, previously told TWS. 

“If politicians like Letitia James get their way and hamstring pro-life groups and doctors, New York will be engaging in forced abortion: Women who start the chemical abortion process often change their mind after taking the first dose,” Harden told TWS in response to the new lawsuit last week. “In Letitia’s ideal world, if a woman starts an abortion the government will force her to go through with the abortion or travel out-of-state to save her baby.”

“But then, it has never really been about choice, or women, or rights. Letitia James and other politicians that get elected with the abortion industry’s money are not interested in health care but rather a fascist, billion-dollar, criminal abortion empire committing serial medical malpractice and fraud,” Harden told TWS.

The pro-life centers had anticipated a legal crackdown after New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) signed a law authorizing the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) to survey whether pro-life centers threaten the ability of “pregnant people” to “obtain accurate and non-coercive health care information” and receive the “comprehensive” care including abortion and sterilization. Hochul has stockpiled abortion drugs, signed a bill giving the abortion industry immunity for mailing mifepristone to pro-life states, and handed over $35 million in taxpayer dollars to abortion facilities in the name of advancing “human rights.” 

“New York State laws protect abortionists and abortion on demand up until birth,” Jor-El Godsey, president of Heartbeat International, told TWS. “It is unconscionable to see the abortion industry and its paid-for politicians go so far as to insist she complete an abortion she no longer wants.”

Others pointed out that depriving women of an opportunity to fulfill their desires to become mothers violates the principles of “pro-choice” ethics. “If we truly believe that women should have a choice in her pregnancy decision, then she should also have the choice to reconsider her abortion after taking the first chemical abortion pill,” Kathy Jerman, executive director of New Hope Family Services in Syracuse and the president of the New York State Coalition for Life, added. “Abortion Pill Reversal gives women a second chance to choose life.”

Szoch agreed that the New York AG’s attempt “to stop the advertisement of this lifeline demonstrates just how dedicated New York is to killing unborn babies. They don’t want a mother to have a choice. In fact, they want to do everything possible to make sure that her unborn child is killed.”

A similar case is taking place in Colorado, where The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty sued last April to prevent the state from preventing Bella Health and Wellness from offering the abortion pill reversal. Nearly a year later, on this April 8, a federal district court judge allowed a nurse, Chelsea Mynyk, in the suit on behalf of her own ARP service, Castle Rock Women’s Health. Mynyk is represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom.

At the national level, just last month Rep. Mary Miller (R-Ill.) introduced the Second Chance for Moms Act (H.R. 7823), which would require the FDA to amend the label for the abortion pill mifepristone to note: “WARNING: Medical evidence suggests that the abortifacient effects of mifepristone can be counteracted by natural progesterone, which can increase the chance of fetal survival. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has determined that natural progesterone is safe in the first trimester of pregnancy.” The announcement would include the number of a local hotline that could facilitate the abortion pill reversal process.

Despite the legal pressure, pro-life advocates say they will stand up for their rights, the rights of regretful mothers to reverse their mistakes, and the right to life for unborn babies. “We will fight back as long as it takes against Ms. James’ efforts to jeopardize the Christian and life-affirming missions of Heartbeat International, CompassCare, and all similar pro-life ministries in the State of New York,” vowed Breen.

CompassCare and other pro-life ministries intend to use the widened exposure that comes with government prosecution, from anti-life politicians at the federal or state level, to tell a wider audience about how to save babies. “Being sued by New York State for ‘misinformation’ oddly gives us the platform to educate the nation concerning the stubborn facts abortion industry puppets, like James, seek to hide, such as the fact that ‘abortion is attended with’ an ‘increased risk of breast cancer, a 52% increased risk of future preterm deliveries, and’ a several-fold higher ‘risk of suicide.’ If it takes being sued by Letitia James to save women and babies from being used and victimized by a mercenary abortion industry, come and get us!”

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