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Abortion Industry: Don’t Tell Women They Can Reverse Chemical Abortions


Trusting women to make good decisions when provided with accurate information seems like a noncontroversial healthcare policy.

But the abortion industry has fought tooth and nail against two straightforward informed-consent provisions recently enacted in Arkansas and Arizona. If a woman is undergoing a chemical abortion, such as the two-drug RU-486 regimen, the laws say she must be informed that it “may be possible” to reverse the effects of the chemical abortion if she changes her mind, “but that time is of the essence.”

The necessity of such informed consent provisions is clear. Some women change their minds before completing the two-drug RU-486 regimen—as evidenced by the 140-plus babies born or currently in utero following the chemical abortion reversal process. And the process itself is based on an established medical principle. Providing information on the possibility of reversing the effects of chemical abortion respects a woman’s intellect, acknowledges the complexity of her decision, and communicates relevant medical information.

But the abortion industry is so intent on hiding the reality that chemical abortion may be reversed that it is undermining its own strategy and previous claims, disingenuously asserting that it cannot tell women of the abortion reversal process because that process has not been addressed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), an entity that up to this point the abortion industry has been glad to ignore.

Industry Ignores FDA on Chemical Abortions

The abortion industry routinely administers chemical abortion drugs in ways that contravene protocols approved by the FDA. Specifically, according to the FDA, the drugs in the RU-486 regimen should be provided only through 49 days gestation, and the woman should return to the clinic on day three to (orally) ingest misoprostol, the second drug in the regimen.

Prior to approving RU-486, the FDA informed the drug manufacturer that ‘restrictions’ ‘are needed to assure safe use.’

In fact, the FDA was so concerned with the proper administration of the RU-486 regimen that it approved it under a special code section, known as Subpart H, which allows the FDA to place post-marketing restrictions on the drugs and providers. Prior to approving RU-486, the FDA informed the drug manufacturer that “restrictions” on the “distribution and use of mifepristone [the first drug in the regimen] are needed to assure safe use.”

On approval, the FDA required that both the provider and patient sign a statement attesting that the woman is no more than 49 days pregnant and that she will return to the office to administer misoprostol.

Big Abortion ignores the FDA restrictions by providing the drugs up to at least 69 days gestation and sending women home to (vaginally or bucally) self-administer misoprostol without medical supervision. And abortion advocates have worked tirelessly against laws that would protect women’s health by limiting the use of life-ending drugs to the protocol required by the FDA.

Big Abortion Serves Itself, Not Women

As of 2011, the FDA had received over 2,200 adverse events reports related to use of the RU-486 regimen, including eight women who died of severe bacterial infections. Notably, each of the eight women had been instructed to administer the drugs in ways not approved by the FDA.

Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers increasingly tie their profits to the distribution of abortion drugs.

The FDA has never approved of this blatant deviation from its restrictions. Instead, the FDA continues to note that “[t]he safety and effectiveness of other [RU-486] dosing regimens, including the use of oral misoprostol tablets intravaginally, has not been established by the FDA.”

With the FDA lacking enforcement power to ensure adherence to its Subpart H restrictions, the onus falls on the states to rein in the abortion industry’s potentially life-threatening use of chemical abortion drugs. Significantly, one of Big Abortion’s main arguments against such laws is that it is unnecessary to adhere to the FDA restrictions.

The industry hypocritically fights to physically administer abortion drugs in contradiction to enumerated FDA restrictions, but it refuses to simply provide information to a woman that may allow her to change her mind mid-abortion.

While we know that Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers increasingly tie their profits to the distribution of abortion drugs, an additional motive could be at play in the abortion industry’s refusal to inform a woman that she can potentially reverse the effects of RU-486. According to the industry’s preferred (and unapproved) protocol, the woman has already ingested the first drug and has been sent home to administer the second drug alone. There is no guarantee that the woman will ever return to the clinic—which means, more likely than not, that the clinic has already been paid when the woman leaves.

So simply informing a woman that she can potentially reverse the RU-486 process after she leaves the clinic may not impact the clinic’s profit. Hiding this information reveals that the industry is more interested in ensuring dead babies than in protecting the women it claims to serve.