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Women Deserve the Opportunity to Choose Abortion Pill Reversal

by | Jul 8, 2024

Statistics indicate that abortion pill reversal has likely saved the lives of over 5,000 unborn children, but some abortion advocates are trying to ban it.

By Bernadette Tasy, Alliance Defending Freedom

For years, abortion advocates have claimed they are trying to protect “a woman’s right to choose.” But in practice, many of these abortion advocates have shown that they only support a woman’s right to make some medical decisions. When it comes to abortion pill reversal, they suddenly stop being so ‘pro-choice.’

What is abortion pill reversal?

Most abortions in the United States today are chemical abortions. The most common form of chemical abortion uses two abortion drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, with one taken after the other.

Some women experience regret after taking mifepristone and change their minds about wanting an abortion. There is a window of time between the first and second abortion drugs during which the effects of mifepristone may be reversed and the baby may be saved. Abortion pill reversal (APR) is the process of trying to save these unborn children.

How does abortion pill reversal work?

The chemical abortion drug mifepristone kills unborn children by blocking progesterone, a naturally occurring hormone needed to sustain pregnancy. So, in the APR process, medical professionals prescribe women progesterone to “outnumber and outcompete” mifepristone’s effects, as Charlotte Lozier Institute describes it. APR is not guaranteed to save the lives of unborn children whose mothers have taken mifepristone, but research has shown it can be effective.

In 2018, the medical journal Issues in Law and Medicine published a peer-reviewed study led by physician George Delgado. Dr. Delgado studied 754 women who wanted to stop the chemical abortion process they had begun, and he found that APR successfully saved unborn children between 64 and 68 percent of the time when administered within 72 hours of taking mifepristone.

Since progesterone is a natural hormone used to support pregnancies, prescribing it does not put women or their unborn children in danger. To date, APR is estimated to have saved more than 5,000 unborn children.

Abortion advocates have lied about abortion pill reversal

Unfortunately, some abortion advocates have spread falsehoods about abortion pill reversal. For example, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) incorrectly states on its website that APR is “unproven and unethical.”

In reality, multiple studies have proven progesterone can be effective in treating pregnant women who are at risk for miscarriage. In addition to Delgado’s 2018 study, two other more recent studies show APR’s effectiveness.

The first study, conducted on rats, established “a clear progesterone-mediated reversal of an initiated mifepristone-induced termination in a rat model at first-trimester human equivalent.” The second study found that the administration of progesterone posed no increased risk to maternal or fetal health in early pregnancy and concluded that “mifepristone antagonization with progesterone is a safe and effective treatment.”

Medical providers have used progesterone to support healthy pregnancies since the 1950s, and the hormone is commonly prescribed today to women who are at risk of giving birth prematurely or suffering a miscarriage. It is only in the context of APR that some lawmakers have tried to ban the use of progesterone.

Regarding ACOG’s false claim that APR is “unethical,” the organization argues that those advocating for APR are trying to confuse people. For the pro-life pregnancy centers that Alliance Defending Freedom represents, this couldn’t be further from the truth. These pregnancy centers simply want to accurately inform women about their options, and in some cases, they are barred from doing so.

ADF defends the right to speak about and offer abortion pill reversal

We are currently defending pro-life pregnancy centers that have been punished by government officials in four states for speaking truthfully and positively about APR.

  • In Vermont, a state law censors pregnancy centers from speaking freely about the services they provide, including APR. Any pregnancy center that advertises in a way that the Vermont attorney general dubs “misleading” faces fines of up to $10,000 for each violation. ADF challenged the law on behalf of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) and two Vermont pregnancy centers.

 

  • New York Attorney General Letitia James sued 11 faith-based pro-life pregnancy centers in the state because they spoke accurately about APR. This was a blatant violation of the First Amendment, so ADF filed a lawsuit against the attorney general on behalf of NIFLA and two nonprofit pro-life pregnancy centers for her unlawful censorship.

 

  • First Choice Women’s Resource Centers in New Jersey is a nationally leading organization for APR. In November 2023, New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin issued a subpoena demanding First Choice turn over 10 years’ worth of documents, including its statements about APR. He did not cite any complaints but rather targeted First Choice because of its religious and pro-life views. ADF is representing First Choice in a lawsuit against AG Platkin for unlawfully discriminating against the pregnancy center.

 

  • In Washington, Attorney General Bob Ferguson conducted a baseless and unconstitutional investigation into the Obria Group and Obria Pacific Northwest because he disagreed with their pro-life views and their speech about APR. ADF filed a lawsuit, and in May 2024, AG Ferguson closed his investigation and announced he would not pursue litigation against the pregnancy centers.

The state of Colorado has gone even further in trying to ban APR, violating multiple constitutional rights in the process.

  • In April 2023, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed a law that prohibits doctors and nurses from providing APR altogether and bars them from providing information about the process to their patients. The law denies women the freedom to continue their pregnancies and denies medical providers the freedom to speak freely. ADF intervened in a lawsuit challenging the law on behalf of Chelsea Mynyk, a nurse practitioner who offers APR at her clinic.

Finally, ADF is defending a state law requiring doctors to inform women seeking abortions about all their options.

  • Kansas’ Women’s Right to Know Act requires doctors to inform women seeking abortions about the risks of the procedure, the care available should they decide to keep their baby, the possibility of APR, and more to ensure women have all they need to make their decisions. But two abortion businesses (including Planned Parenthood) and two abortion providers sued Kansas, and a state trial court temporarily halted enforcement of the law. The case is still awaiting a final ruling from the court.

Conclusion

Abortion pill reversal offers women who regret taking mifepristone the opportunity to try to save their unborn children. Studies have shown it is 64-68 percent effective, and the pro-life pregnancy centers that ADF represents provide all the relevant information to women interested in APR.

It is not the job of government officials to determine what care medical professionals offer their patients, nor can these officials prohibit pro-life pregnancy centers from informing women about their options.

If we truly want to protect women’s freedom, we must allow women considering abortion access to all the information they need to make life-affirming choices.