On a Saturday morning in 2013, I was alone, sitting on the floor of a dirty grocery store bathroom staring at two pink lines on a First Response pregnancy test and feeling a surge of panic. I was 18 years old, a freshman in college, and living with my parents — and my 10-month-old baby, who I was raising as a single mom.
Before I left that stall, I knew I had to end this pregnancy before anyone found out, and before I got any more attached to the new baby growing inside me. In my moment of panic, abortion felt like hope. I had made my choice.
It was so easy to act on that choice. A quick Internet search revealed eight abortion clinics within a 25-mile radius. Before long I was holding an RU-486 abortion pill that would simply “end my pregnancy,” as the Planned Parenthood nurse explained. A swish of water, one big gulp later, and the pill was working its way down.
This was the first step in the two-part chemical abortion pill process, which accounts for nearly half of the estimated 800,000 abortions that occur in the United States every year. A woman takes the first pill, mifepristone (or RU-486), which blocks progesterone, a hormone necessary for an unborn baby to survive. Hours later she takes the second drug, misoprostol, which expels the baby.
But as I walked to the parking lot of the abortion clinic, the brown paper bag containing the misoprostol that was supposed to “expel my pregnancy” over the toilet the next day began to feel heavier and heavier. I realized I was carrying the weight of my unborn child’s life.
My regret was immediate. My grief was real. I said a prayer. Then I pulled out my phone to search the Internet for an answer, like I’d done as soon as I learned I was pregnant. Only this Internet search revealed a very different answer: abortion pill reversal.
We turn to quick Internet searches every day looking for solutions to many problems, large and small. By acting as gatekeepers for the information we need, these search engines, especially Google, play a huge role in the choices we make and how we live our lives. That’s why it’s so dangerous when they choose to hide certain pieces of information from users.
On September 14, Google bowed to pro-abortion pressure and made the decision to remove and ban abortion pill reversal advertisements from pro-life Live Action and its partners. That means women like me who change their minds and want to save their babies will have a harder time finding health-care options.
In my case, my Internet search came up with a group called Heartbeat International. Right there in my car in the abortion clinic parking lot, I called their hotline, and a calm and compassionate nurse explained what could be done.
Since I had taken the first chemical abortion dose but not the second, it was possible, with progesterone treatment, to “out-compete” the abortion pill. “If we can get progesterone back into your body before that pill runs its course,” she said, “we may be able to sustain your hormone levels and save your baby.”
Progesterone is an FDA-approved hormone regularly given to pregnant women, for instance to sustain pregnancy in women who tend to miscarry or who are going through IVF. I was able to get it quickly from a local ob-gyn, and my mission to save my baby was on. By the grace of God, it worked. On October 20, 2013, I delivered a full-term and perfectly healthy baby boy who will soon turn eight years old.
Abortion pills can be reversed and healthy children born in about 68 percent of cases, according to a study by a pioneer in the field. Yet Planned Parenthood says “Claims about treatments that reverse the effects of medication abortion are out there … But these claims haven’t been proven in reliable medical studies — nor have they been tested for safety, effectiveness, or the likelihood of side effects. Studies on the abortion pill do show that if you take the first medicine but not the second, the abortion pill is less likely to work.”
Proof that the abortion pill reversal regimen works are the more than 2,500 children who have been saved rather than aborted, according to Heartbeat International. That number was increasing and, until this week, Heartbeat International’s reversal hotline regularly received more than 150 calls per month from women desperately wanting to undo their mistake.
Many had found the abortion pill reversal website and hotline number through online advertisements from Live Action on Google. With Google’s recent decision to shut down those ads, where will those women turn? Why is Google attempting to erase my experience and the reason for my child’s existence? Here I am. Here we are.
If they make the decision to hide information from women seeking to make a choice, is it really a choice at all?