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Abortion pill reversal pioneer tells story of courageous girl who led to procedure’s discovery

by | Dec 9, 2019

By Calvin Freiburger

Thanks to the discovery by Dr. Matthew Harrison of a way to reverse the tragic effects of the abortion pill, 175 babies have been born alive and healthy, and 100 more are on the way.

Abortion pill reversal is among the most recent innovations in saving preborn lives, and one of the technique’s pioneers says it all started with a phone call on behalf of a scared girl desperate to save her baby.

The abortion pill mifepristone (better known as RU-486) works by blocking the natural hormone progesterone that developing babies require to survive. Abortion pill reversal consists of administering extra progesterone to counteract mifepristone’s effects, ideally within 24 hours of taking the abortion pill.

This week, Jonathon Van Maren interviewed Dr. Matthew Harrison, who along withDr. George Delgado pioneered the technique. Harrison explained how he first came to theorize and attempt it.

Harrison was already pro-life while working as an OB/GYN in North Carolina, and he maintained a relationship with the area crisis pregnancy centers. In 2006, one of them called on behalf of 19-year-old Ashley, who had taken RU-486 under pressure from her boyfriend but changed her mind with the support of her parents [and before taking the second of two drugs]. Harrison told them to send her to his office.

“I need to step into my office and think and pray about this,” Harrison recalls telling her. “I went out of the exam room, went to my office thinking about how RU-486 works.” He had been researching the subject of protein receptors, which gave him “this basic knowledge of, well, the receptor models says that there’s got to be something that activates the receptor, there’s gonna be something that blocks the receptor.”

“What if we just put in more good keys? What if we just flood the system with progesterone and outcompete the RU-486?” he theorized. “So I went in and proposed this to her, and I said, ‘Listen, we have progesterone right here in the office. We can give you an injection. It’s gonna give you extra progesterone [that] will block that RU-486. And I think that this is the best and only way that we might be able to nullify the effects of the medicine you took.”

Harrison made it clear to Ashley that the progesterone would be safe, but it had never been done before and would not be guaranteed to save her child. “I absolutely understand that this has never been done before,” she replied, “and I want to take the risk to try to save my baby.”

She took the injection and started bleeding the next day, which Harrison feared might be a sign they were losing the baby. Thankfully, an ultrasound found the baby’s heartbeat, which Ashley said “would have made it all worth it” if that had been “the only thing I got to see out of this.”

They continued progesterone injections throughout the first trimester, and eventually Ashley gave birth to a healthy baby girl, who is now 12 years old.

“Ashley’s story from the very beginning to me is one of the most powerful, because this is a brave young lady” who chose to “step up and to take this risk, never having done before and knowing that she was going to lose the support of her over boyfriend” and face challenges providing for her daughter, Harrison said. Today, Ashley is a respiratory therapist who saves babies’ lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Abortion pill reversal’s pioneers credit it with helping more than 400 women save their babies since 2007. [1] Success rates indicate that reversing a chemical abortion is not certain, but it has the potential to save many babies without endangering their mothers. Pro-abortion organizations such as NARAL and the American Medical Association assail it as “junk science,” but pro-life medical experts explain that it’s based on well understood principles from progesterone’s common use in situations such as treating women with a history of miscarriage and preventing preterm labor.

[1] According to Heartbeat International, the Abortion Pill Reversal reports more than 900 babies saved to date.

Editor’s note. This appeared at LifeSiteNews and is reposted with permission.