NRL News

Another “study” touts the safety of telemedicine abortions

by | Feb 18, 2022

By Dave Andrusko

The beauty, for lack of a better word, of the abortion industry’s strategy is how studies supporting whatever it is they want promoted just happen to come out at the right time.

Take “Safety and effectiveness of self-managed medication abortion provided using online telemedicine in the United States: A population based study” which was published yesterday in The Lancet.

Here’s the “Background”:

As access to clinical abortion care becomes increasingly restricted in the United States, the need for self-managed abortions (i.e. abortions taking place outside of the formal healthcare setting) may increase. We examine the safety, effectiveness, and acceptability of self-managed medication abortion provided using online telemedicine.

Get it? As more protections are passed in more states, the need for “self-managed” abortions grows and grows. This study is intended to assure everyone that “Do It Yourself” abortions performed by the woman is safe, safe, safe.

According to Politico Pulse, “The peer-reviewed study, led by University of Texas at Austin professor Abigail Aiken, comes on the heels of the FDA’s decision to permanently loosen restrictions on abortion pills and allow people to obtain them via telemedicine and by mail and as a wave of GOP states advance bills to limit their access or ban them entirely.”

So, naturally, of the 3,000 “self-managed” abortions in 2018 and 2019

  • 96.4 percent reported successfully ending their pregnancy without follow-up surgery.
  • Of the 1 percent that reported treatment of a serious adverse event, 0.6 percent reported receiving a blood transfusion, while 0.5 percent reported receiving intravenous antibiotics.
  • No deaths were reported.

What to say? For starters, we know of 26 death associated with the use of mifepristone and misoprostol. And things are much more dangerous now.

These figures—the 26 deaths and the thousands of adverse events such as hemorrhage, infection, and ectopic pregnancy–were obtained under the old REMS [Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy] regulations. Those required the woman to go to the office visit to pick up the pills.

What about “adverse events reports”? There are thousands of them.

I asked Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon, director of Education & Research, about the study which demonstrated that chemical abortions in general are dangerous, but that telemedical chemical abortions are even worse.

You only need to look at the last name on the author list to know that this is hardly some objective scientific study. Rebecca Gomperts is the queen of abortion pill publicity stunts, responsible for the abortion ship, the abortion train, the abortion bus, the abortion drone, multiple abortion hotlines, and the infamous “I need an abortion” website where women all over the world can order abortion pills online and from their smartphones.

This is only her latest stunt where Gomperts, in direct defiance to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has formed a group called “Aid Access” and has been shipping abortion pills to women in the United States. Though the sale and use of abortion pills are already legal in all fifty states, with a few minor safeguards, Gomperts decided in 2018 to bring her online sales operation to the U.S. because “access to abortion in the clinic setting is moving further out of reach due to restrictive state legislation.”

If this were truly her driving concern, one would have expected Gomperts to concentrate her sales campaign on those states with the most or the strongest restrictions. But Gomperts is proud to note that Aid Access “offers self-managed abortion, operating outside the formal U.S. healthcare setting in all 50 states.” That includes many states where telemedical abortion was already legally available.

Gomperts’ concern for women’s health is also questionable. Though she claims that she had “success” rates of over 96% with only 1% reporting treatment for a “serious adverse event,” she obtains these rates only by ignoring the outcomes of the 30% of patients of whom her study lost track.

The high numbers lost to follow-up are of great concern not just because they potentially compromise the safety and efficacy numbers, making these ‘self-managed’ abortions seem safer or more “effective” than they actually are, but also because this is the fundamental worry about mail-box abortions. That is, that women will get these, have problems, and get lost in the medical system. They will suffer infections, hemorrhages, ruptured ectopic pregnancies, or worse, without anyone ever knowing that the abortion pill was responsible. (Groups like Aid Access have even gone so far as to advise women seeking help at the local emergency room that they do not need to tell the doctors they are having a chemical abortion, that it is indistinguishable from a miscarriage.)

Politics and publicity are at the heart of everything Gomperts does, not science, and certainly not women’s health and safety. This study is just the latest stunt in Gomperts campaign to make abortion pills broadly available, no matter what the practical consequences might be for women and their unborn babies.