Consensus is a rare thing in political life these days, especially when it comes to what’s needed to address covid-19. But again in court this week and in the media, one idea has emerged from the abortion lobby as their solution to the pandemic. It’s being pushed through by the media and liberal, political establishment, and that is the expansion and deregulation of the chemical abortion pill market for DIY abortions. The push to politicize these life-ending drugs was led in part by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra who persuaded 21 additional state attorneys general to join him in pressuring the Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration to drop health and safety standards for the pills.
As the Biden administration has now nominated Becerra to head HHS, it’s seems clear that the current advice of medical professionals at the FDA will be ignored and that common-sense health and safety standards known as a REMS (risk evaluation and mitigation strategy) to reduce the death and injury rate of women undergoing abortions are now at risk.
But before such a radical step is taken, medical expertise should be combined with better understanding of the emotional toll these pills take on women who are sent home to suffer, bleed and pass a premature infant into a toilet in their homes or in school dormitories. As part of a nationwide effort to inform women about the deadly realities of chemical abortion pills and the clear and present danger to their long-term lives and fertility, Students for Life of America has launched a five-figure, digital campaign reaching out to the young women who are being told that it’s no big deal to take a few pills and abort at home.
The educational resources found at the website This Is Chemical Abortion include a newly released booklet of the same name in which women talk about their experiences. The identities of the women are kept private, and the conversations come from the interactions Students for Life team members have had with women openly posting in online pregnancy chatrooms about their chemical abortions since June 2020.
“I wish they told me these pills wouldn’t end the baby’s life,” wrote one woman. “It came out in a sack, with all the limbs and eyes … heart still beating. If I knew that would be the outcome, I would’ve never done it.”
In these heartbreaking testimonies, many women discussed the trauma of experiencing tremendous pain and frightening blood loss followed sometimes by the emotional shock of seeing their child. “I get so upset and shaky just thinking about it now, and I feel like I’m in this bitter torment that will never end,” wrote another.
In a letter to policy makers at the book’s beginning, I discuss a case study written about chemical abortions, #AbortionChangesYou, examining women’s experiences, noting: “One study found 43 percent of women experienced more bleeding that expected with 26 percent bleeding for more than four weeks. Rather than feeling empowered, 53 percent of the women said that they had wanted their babies, but pressure from the child’s father or a family member led them to take the pills.
“The study also noted that women felt lied to about how simple taking a few pills would be, reporting: ‘When women’s personal experiences contradicted what they were originally told by health care providers, family, or friends, women felt deceived. One woman communicated her frustration by saying: ‘They told me it wouldn’t hurt, and I wouldn’t feel a thing. THAT WAS SUCH A LIE. I felt everything, I heard everything, I seen everything. I ended up blacking out from the pain and puking all over myself.’”
For about 5 percent of women whose babies’ lives are not ended by the chemical abortion pill regimen, a surgical procedure is required. The pills have four times the complication rate as surgical abortion, and a report in MedGenMed notes that “the risk of death appears to be 10 times greater with medical abortion [chemical abortion] than with surgical abortion.”
According to the FDA, “Cramping and vaginal bleeding are expected effects of the treatment regimen. In some cases, very heavy vaginal bleeding will need to be stopped by a surgical procedure. … Other common side effects include nausea, weakness, fever/chills, vomiting, headache, diarrhea, and dizziness in the first day or two after taking the two medicines.”
Adverse consequences include hospitalization and blood transfusions to address excessive bleeding. And physicians report that hysterectomies following complications from chemical abortion have occurred. Women have even died taking the chemical abortion pills.
Women are also exposed to additional dangers when chemical abortion pills are handed out without supervision. Women’s fertility and their ability to bear children in the future can be destroyed, and women can be exposed to abusive people who slip them the life-ending drugs against their wishes.
It’s easy to understand why the abortion lobby wants to cut down on personnel and infrastructure costs with a quick sale of pills over a phone app or online. But what is good for abortionists isn’t good for women, who may lose their lives, future children and emotional health from a traumatizing event.
And certainly, the future secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services should not be leading the charge to dismiss common-sense safety regulations. Regardless of a person’s views on the ending of human life by abortion, every American should agree that a woman should not face injury, infertility or death for undergoing an abortion.
Sens. Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell must do their jobs and refuse to confirm Becerra and hold all Joe Biden appointees to HHS and FDA accountable for keeping health and safety standards in place to protect women from the known impacts of these deadly drugs. The goal of medical standards should be to protect patients’ health care needs, not abortionists’ financial interests.
Kristan Hawkins is president of Students for Life of America, with more than 1,225 chapters on college and high school campuses in all 50 states. Follow her @KristanHawkins or subscribe to her podcast, Explicitly Pro-Life.