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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

Yes, abortion reversal will work

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Monday, February 27, 2017 05:31 am
On Feb. 15 I testified before the Indiana House Public Policy Committee on House Bill (HB) 1128, a bill that offers women abortion pill reversal information. Planned Parenthood, Indiana’s largest abortion business, unsuccessfully attempted to stop the bill in committee, calling abortion reversal “junk science.” They must have been thrilled to see the Associated Press include their talking points in an article titled, “Experts: Science Behind ‘Abortion Reversal’ Is Flawed.” that appeared in this paper on Thursday. Since the AP reporter failed to offer a fair shake to the pro-life side of the issue, let me share what abortion reversal is all about and why a bill informing women is good policy. As the president of the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a practicing OB/GYN serving Northeast Indiana women and a member of the Abortion Pill Reversal Network, I have studied abortion pill reversal extensively. Roughly a third of women seeking abortions choose chemical, or medical abortion, to end their pregnancies. This abortion is a two-step process. A woman takes RU-486, or mifeprex, at an abortion facility. This pill blocks progesterone, a crucial hormone needed in early fetal development. Then 48-72 hours later she takes another drug, misoprostol, which causes uterine contractions and expulsion of her developing child.

Since 2006, the Abortion Pill Reversal Network has been helping women who changed their mind shortly after starting the abortion to go on to deliver healthy babies. There is a little boy here in Northeast Indiana approaching his first birthday who wouldn’t be here if not for abortion pill reversal. His mother, like many women, found herself unexpectedly pregnant while trying to finish school. She pursued an abortion at Planned Parenthood. She told me the moment she left the clinic after taking the first pill, she regretted her decision. She went home and searched for reversal options. The Abortion Pill Reversal Network referred her to me and we started the reversal protocol before she took the second pill.

The abortion pill reversal protocol involves giving women large doses of progesterone in order to counteract the first pill. Abortion proponents argue any woman wishing to stop her abortion after the first pill should just skip the second pill and do nothing. They say in at least 30 percent of cases her pregnancy will continue. But the abortion pill reversal protocol offers success in at least 60 percent of cases; shouldn’t women be aware that treatment using progesterone to reverse an abortion exists?

Progesterone is safe. It’s been studied. In fact, the founder of the Abortion Reversal Network, Dr. George Delgado, applied to his Institutional Review Board for approval to do a research study on the abortion pill reversal protocol. He was told that was unnecessary. Approval isn’t needed because progesterone is not an experimental drug. The forms of progesterone being used in abortion pill reversal are already FDA-approved for use throughout pregnancy.

One argument against abortion pill reversal, as stated in the AP article, is that progesterone injections and doctor visits can cost up to $1,000. Historically, our society hasn’t judged a person’s life by their healthcare costs. We shouldn’t start now. Doing everything we can to save a child with cancer or a diabetes diagnosis will certainly cost more than $1,000, but it’s worth it.

It’s also worth trying this simple abortion reversal protocol to save a child’s life if there are no harmful effects to mother or child. In 2015, the same legislative body considering HB 1128 passed a “right to try” law that allows doctors to use experimental drugs on terminally ill patients. Doctors use many medication protocols solely based on case reports because it is a situation where it would be unethical to do a randomized, controlled trial. In the case of abortion pill reversal, it would be unethical to do a randomized, controlled trial and use a placebo for a woman who regrets her abortion.

The AP article claims, “Women rarely change their minds before completing the treatment.” I take issue with the term, “rarely.” Soon the Abortion Pill Reversal Network will publish a report about 300 successful abortion pill reversals. These are 300 women who regretted their abortions. These are 300 children who are alive today after nearly being aborted. How many more women would choose reversal if they knew it was an option?

HB 1128 informs women who are seeking chemical abortions that abortion reversal may be possible, should she change her mind. It places no additional burden on the abortion business. It doesn’t block access to abortion. Abortion pill reversal information empowers women. I urge the Indiana legislature to pass this bill. I’m glad we are talking about this issue. But as we talk about it, your readers deserve to have balanced reporting – a child’s life may depend on it.

Christina Francis, MD, is a practicing OB/GYN in Fort Wayne and president of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 

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