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New York AG takes next step in “political witch-hunt” against pregnancy help organizations

by | May 7, 2024

By Lisa Bourne

New Attorney General Letitia James followed through on her threat to sue Heartbeat International and several pregnancy help organizations in her state to prevent the organizations from advertising the Abortion Pill Reversal (APR) protocol.

James is alleging that Heartbeat and 11 New York pregnancy help medical clinics use false and misleading statements to advertise APR, and accuses them of fraud, deceptive business practices, and false advertising, even claiming they are “spreading dangerous misinformation.”

James claims incorrectly in the process that the mission of Heartbeat International and the pregnancy help organizations is “to prevent people from obtaining abortions” and relies upon pro-abortion sources to deride the APR protocol.

“AG James is parroting abortion propaganda rather than studying the actual scientific evidence,” Heartbeat International President Jor-El Godsey said. “All major studies about abortion pill reversal (progesterone) show it works, including the one ‘clinical’ study performed by abortion doctors.”

“With this lawsuit, AG James is protecting Big Abortion in New York while denying the New York women the right to continue their own pregnancy,” Godsey said.

James’s lawsuit against Heartbeat and the pregnancy medical clinics follows a “Notice of Intention to Sue” over advertisement of APR she had sent to Heartbeat and the 11 pregnancy help organizations April 22. Heartbeat and the pregnancy help organizations, represented by Thomas More Society, sued James April 30 to block her threatened legal action. Thomas More Society followed up on May 1 with a request for preliminary injunction against James.

Thomas More Society Executive Vice President and Head of Litigation Peter Breen commented on James’s May 6 filing against Heartbeat and the pregnancy help organizations, echoing his thought from the previous week that James is on a political witch-hunt against life-affirming pregnancy help organizations.

“Today, New York Attorney General Letitia James has decided to proceed full steam ahead with her witch-hunt against New York’s pregnancy help organizations,” Breen said. “Delivering on her threat of lawfare against our life-affirming clients, Ms. James has filed a baseless lawsuit in Manhattan—where none of our clients are located—to unconstitutionally silence their pro-life message. In doing so, Ms. James is seeking to keep in the dark women who desire to urgently try to continue their pregnancies.”

Heartbeat is the largest network of pregnancy help organizations in the U.S. and globally with approximately 3,500 affiliates worldwide and more than 2,100 affiliated pregnancy help locations in the U.S.

Heartbeat International and its affiliated pregnancy help organizations seek to provide women in unplanned pregnancies with information on alternatives to abortion so that they are empowered to make an informed choice, along with providing compassionate support and material assistance. Pregnancy help organizations serve and support women regardless of whether they make a choice for life or abortion.

Heartbeat also manages the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network (APRN), consisting of more than 1,400 healthcare professionals, pregnancy centers and hospitals that administer the APR protocol.

Abortion Pill Reversal is an updated application of a treatment used since the 1950s to prevent miscarriage. It entails prescribing progesterone, the natural hormone in a woman’s body necessary to sustain pregnancy, to counter the effects of mifepristone, the first drug in the two-drug chemical abortion regimen.

Chemical abortion works by mifepristone first blocking progesterone in the mother’s system, starving the unborn child of nutrients, and then with the second drug, misoprostol, taken a day or so later, causing the woman to deliver her presumably deceased child.

If a woman takes the first chemical abortion pill and has regret, and she acts quickly enough, it may be possible to save her child through Abortion Pill Reversal.

Heartbeat has many first-hand accounts of mothers who have reversed their chemical abortions and statistics show that more than 5,000 children have been saved through the APR protocol.

With chemical abortion now accounting for more than half of all abortions conducted in the U.S. the option to reverse a chemical abortion via APR has become front and center as it offers a possible antidote and also demonstrates that women can and do regret making an abortion choice.

Although abortion proponents continuously attempt to claim that APR is unproven and unsafe, all major studies show that using progesterone to counteract an in-progress chemical abortion can be effective since it’s bio-identical to the hormone a woman’s body produces to nourish her pregnancy.

Notably, the study most often cited by abortion advocates to make negative claims about APR, the Mitchell Creinin study, though incomplete, actually showed an effective reversal rate of 80% and confirmed the dangerous side effects of mifepristone.

It is this study that James relies upon in a press release on her lawsuit to claim safety issues exist with APR.

She follows her Creinin study reference with citing the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) to claim that APR is not backed by science and does not meet clinical standards. ACOG is forthright in its position in support of abortion, even claiming that abortion constitutes healthcare, and in its disdain for APR.

Furthermore, however, a practice bulletin from ACOG itself points to the efficacy of APR.

ACOG Practice Bulletin 225 from October 2020, for which Creinin was an author, gives ACOG’s guidance on the provision of chemical abortion. At the same time ACOG claims in the bulletin, “There is no evidence that treatment with progesterone after taking mifepristone increases the likelihood of the pregnancy continuing,” it goes on to warn abortion providers against administering a certain progestin-only birth control (a form of progesterone) the same day that mifepristone is given, a report from Charlotte Lozier Institute says, because doing so reduces the efficacy of the chemical abortion and increases the chances of embryonic and fetal survival by 4 times even after the woman has taken the second abortion drug misoprostol.

The ACOG practice bulletin specifically states:

“Patients who select depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) for contraception should be counseled that administration of DMPA on day 1 of the medication abortion regimen may increase the risk of ongoing pregnancy.” (emphasis added)

Heartbeat contends as it did the week prior when filing its complaint against James that her targeting a dozen non-profit life-affirming pregnancy help organizations is unjust, discriminatory, and an attempt to censor speech. Preventing women who regret their chemical abortions from receiving information on APR ultimately forces them to complete an abortion they no longer want, the pregnancy help network says.

Heartbeat International’s Senior Director of Medical Impact said James has no right to force reproductive choices upon the women of New York.

“She is attempting to hide choices from women and force women to complete abortions they no longer want or consent to,” Christa Brown said, noting that the New York Clinic Access Law prohibits anyone from interfering with those seeking reproductive health services.

“James claims to be making efforts to “defend access to reproductive care” while attempting to limit reproductive care and the option to continue a pregnancy,” said Brown.

In her capacity overseeing the APRN hotline, Brown and her team encounter many women who have started a chemical abortion, experience regret, and wish to try and save their child.

“When women start an abortion – either by their own free will, by force or coercion – and then have regret, they are often desperate for a different option,” she said. “Urgent assistance is available to support them through the APR hotline. We work to connect women to a medical professional. Bio-identical progesterone is a widely used and accepted treatment in pregnancy and has been for decades.”

Brown said the thousands of women who have experienced Abortion Pill Reversal treatment and their children are living proof that APR is a safe and effective pregnancy choice even after taking a chemical abortion pill.

“Attorney General James should be celebrating all that pregnancy help medical clinics do to support and serve the communities of her state,” said Brown. “Instead, she offers threats and spreads contempt regarding their valuable services. Women in the state of New York do not need an AG or others with political agendas to promote abortion as the only pregnancy option.”

Editor’s note: Lisa Bourne is Managing Editor of Pregnancy Help News and contributes to the publication. This originally appeared at Pregnancy Help News and is reposted with permission.