When Emily left the abortion clinic, she was filled with regret. Only 19 years old, she was unexpectedly pregnant and felt overwhelmed by the thought of having a child. She had gone to Planned Parenthood and taken the abortion pill, and she cried the whole way home.
Thankfully, her story doesn’t end there. Searching online, Emily found information on Abortion Pill Reversal. Calling their helpline, she spoke with a nurse right away who told her it wasn’t too late to save her child’s life.
The abortion pill, which was recently approved for use in Canada under the name ‘mifegymiso’, is a two-step process. First, a pill called mifepristone is taken to cut off the unborn child’s supply of nutrients. Then, 24-28 hours later, a second pill, misoprostol, is taken to induce contractions so that the child will be pushed out of the mother’s womb.
In Canada, this can be done up to 49 days of pregnancy. This is measured from a woman’s last period, so the actual age of the child at this limit is 35 days, or five weeks. At this time, the child’s heart has already been beating for two weeks, and brain development is well underway. (For more information on prenatal development, visit the Endowment for Human Development website.)
The Abortion Pill Reversal procedure began in the United States, where the abortion pill is responsible for nearly half of all non-hospital abortions. If done shortly after the first pill is taken (24-72 hours), it is successful about 55% of the time. It consists of a progesterone treatment that works to reverse the effects of the mifepristone. Thankfully, there are now doctors in Canada who can provide the service as well. The method has received the support of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
At Guelph & Area Right to Life, we believe it is crucial to spread the word about this reversal procedure as the abortion pill becomes available in Canada. This year, we will be running advertising campaigns in our community to let people know about this life-saving option. If you would like to donate towards this message, we invite you to contribute online through CanadaHelps!
Have you taken the abortion pill? It may not be too late! Call 1-877-558-0333. This Abortion Pill Reversal helpline is accessible from Canada, as well as the United States.
In late July of this year, the RU-486 abortion pill was approved for use in Canada. The pill, also called mifepristone, and marketed as Mifegymiso, is used to kill a preborn child. By approving this drug, scientists at Health Canada are putting its stamp of approval on this so-called “safe and effective option”.
This is not only misleading, but dangerous – in more ways than one.
As you might have guessed, mifepristone is never safe for the unborn child. In fact, it is lethal: it works by blocking progesterone, effectively starving the developing child of needed nutrients – ending his or her life. Following this, a drug called misoprostol is taken to induce contractions.
It is sad to see a mechanism for ending life being celebrated as a tool for ‘freedom and choice’. Advocates of abortion are hailing RU-486 as a big win for women (the Toronto Star unabashedly proclaims, “Canadian women win gold – the abortion pill”). Yet, by holding on so firmly to a narrative that refuses to question any element of abortion, they are doing women a disservice. Crucial information on the drug’s negative effects is being ignored or dismissed.
Some are still willing to speak up: Renata Klein, an Australian feminist and academic, has released an in-depth analysis of the harms of RU-486. She comes at it from a pro-abortion perspective, but sheds an honest light on the serious side effects that many refuse to acknowledge.
In her recently re-released book “RU 486: Misconceptions, Myths and Morals” she describes adverse events such as excessive bleeding, hemorrhage requiring surgical intervention, and fatal sepsis. She notes that Finnish researchers found that 20% of women who took mifepristone experienced an adverse reaction – a number four times higher than for surgical abortions. For example, excessive bleeding (requiring a medical consultation and possibly even a blood transfusion) is a complication that has been experienced by thousands of women.
In Sweden, the drug made headlines in 2004 when it claimed the life of a 16-year-old girl named Rebecca. She had chosen an RU-486 abortion because she was told it was a ‘better’ option than a suction abortion. She was alone at her boyfriend’s apartment when she died due to severe hemorrhage. This occurred even though the hospital followed all ‘safety precautions’. The local publicity led other women to come forward with their experiences of similar severe complications.
This highlights a major concern: after taking RU-486 and misoprostol, women are most often alone. This could lead to life-threatening medical problems going undetected. Ectopic pregnancy (which occurs in 2% of pregnancies in the US) is a serious concern, as explained by the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists:
“She will undoubtedly interpret bleeding and pain as consistent with a pharmaceutical abortion, since these are nearly universal effects of mifepristone and misoprostol. This leaves her with the immediate threat of serious harm, or death, if the ectopic pregnancy ruptures.”
Over the course of ten years in the United States, 58 women were hospitalized after using RU-486 with an undetected ectopic pregnancy, and an additional two women died. Yet the FDA still states that they believe “the benefits of Mifeprex outweigh the risks”.
Sadly, the list goes on. Death due to massive infection (sepsis) after taking RU-486 is another major concern, and it is surprising to see how little media attention this issue has received. The FDA’s adverse event report of 2011 noted that 8 women have died due to sepsis after an RU-486 abortion. This number does not include the additional documented deaths in the UK, Portugal, France, and Canada. How many more might there be in China and India, where RU-486 is used but no adverse event information is available?
This life-threatening complication is all the more concerning because – much like ectopic pregnancy – the warning signs are masked by the expected symptoms of the abortion.
RU-486 is often promoted as a ‘solution’ for women in remote areas who have no abortion facilities nearby. As Ms. Klein states in her book, the seriousness of these complications “again makes it clear how dangerous it can be for women in remote areas without access to emergency hospitalization to be told that [mifepristone] abortion is ‘safe and effective’”. (RU-486: Misconceptions, Myths and Morals, p. xix)
Despite all of this, we still hear the stubborn assertion that RU-486 should be available through telemedicine. Amazingly, Heather Mallick of the Toronto Star even calls for the pill to be supplied over-the-counter, entirely removing the requirement for women to see a doctor. This is an absurd and potentially lethal suggestion, revealing a distinct disconnect with the reality of inducing abortion.
Both Health Canada and the drug’s manufacturers have released strict guidelines stating that only physicians can dispense the drug, and that women must have access to emergency medical care. In addition, physicians are required to confirm gestational age, check for ectopic pregnancy and a number of other conditions, and be aware of drug interactions. The doctor must also know the age of the patient, since the safety and efficacy of the drug is not known for patients under the age of 15. These are not requirements that can be casually dispensed with, and to suggest that they should be shows a stunning disregard for women’s safety.
Given the many concerns about RU-486, it is with trepidation that we will wait to see how the landscape will change in Canada when it becomes available next year. What we do know is this: the womb should be the safest place on earth – yet in our country, where there are absolutely no limits on abortion, Health Canada has paved the way for another method of killing. Not only this, but they have put the very women they claim will ‘benefit’ in unnecessary danger.
In my experience, RU-486 is the ‘chemical coat hanger abortion’ of the 90’s. It has bubbled under the surface and now, once again, proponents desire it in Canada. In an amazing research book entitled “RU486 – Misconceptions,Myths and Morals” written by three pro-abortion feminists in 1992, they declared: “[RU-486] constitutes a new form of medical violence that endangers women’s lives and violates their right to be free from bodily harm.”
In an open letter to MPs in Australia in 2005, Renata Klein, one of the book’s authors, stated:
Then, as now, some of you will be astonished that as an internationally recognised feminist and academic who has worked on reproductive issues for 25 years and strongly supports a woman’s right to safe legal abortion, I will side with what are seen as conservative and anti-abortion views.
However, then, as now, I cannot support the view that chemical abortion is seen (a) as good reproductive choice for women, and (b) as a safe alternative to already available abortion by aspiration. I write to you because I am appalled by the misinformation given to the public by supporters of RU-486, who continue to claim chemical abortion is safe, and who portray it as a simple procedure; take three RU486 pills and –bingo! You are no longer pregnant.
In the article entitled “Canadians should have access to abortion pill RU-486, leading medical journal argues,” we are told that RU486 is the “gold standard” and “essential medication”. Shockingly, we are informed that cancer and ulcer drugs are currently used “off-label” by physicians to cause abortion and this is “second rate” and “cumbersome” but seemingly fine for Canadian women!
RU-486 will take us down one more level – a drug which has been specifically designed to starve a child, followed by the administration of another drug, Cytotec to induce labour and expel the dead or dying child. Four visits at minimum to the facility, then the wait for your chemical miscarriage, at home alone, work or play, plus another internal examination – and by the way, bring what’s left of the child with you. Doesn’t this all sound very liberating?
The columnist noted that one woman had died of a bacterial infection during 90’s clinical trials held in Canada. She did not mention that the doctor leading the research admitted that they did not inform women of a letter from the manufacturers of Cytotec, the second drug used, that it was dangerous for women to use it “off-label”.
The columnist noted that other women across the world have died but that “investigations could find no explanation for the cluster of what are normally rare infections, she [Sheila Dunn, CMAJ article author] said, adding that there had been none in recent years.”
I imagine neither of these women had time to check the FDA website and particularly the Mifepristone US Post-marketing Adverse Events Summary through04/30/2011, which noted that of the 2207 adverse events listed, 612 women were hospitalized, 339 experienced blood loss that required transfusions, 256 had infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, pelvic infections with sepsis, with 48 being severe, hospitalized for 2-3 days. 58 women had ectopic pregnancies; the RU-486 regimen is contraindicated for women with ectopic pregnancies! Several of the women (7 of 14) who died in the US “died from sepsis (severe illness caused by infection of the bloodstream) after medical abortion with mifepristone and misoprostol…Sepsis is a known risk related to any type of abortion”. (See FDA Mifepristone information page.)
It also points out that 7 women were infected with Clostridium sordelli that did not present “the usual symptoms.” There was no fever! The side effects of these infections are abdominal pain or discomfort, weakness, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. However, all of these are expected side effects of chemical abortion.
If Clostridium sordelli presents with no fever, this is extremely significant and dangerous for women: how will they or the facility recognize the infection? 17-year-old Holly Patterson and others might still be alive if their abortion facility had done so.
– Guest Post by Jakki Jeffs, Executive Director of Alliance for Life Ontario and President of Guelph & Area Right to Life