The abortion pill has increased in popularity, even as its FDA regulation standards have sharply decreased and even led to mail-order abortions! What are the dangers of this trend for women?
Abortion supporters are quick to use the word safe when describing abortion in any legal form, including the increasingly popular abortion pill.
The chief irony is that the medication, mifepristone (used in conjunction with misoprostol), is designed to take a human life and can, therefore, never be safe for the child.
The irony doesn’t stop there, however; potential patients might also be surprised to know of the risks to the mother herself.
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that those risks will be made any more public, considering that clinics can charge up to $1,000 for mifepristone, a pill that only costs them $90. Advertising any possible danger could result in the loss of some of the easiest money abortion providers ever make. Combined with the anonymity and seeming convenience of taking a pill, it’s no surprise that abortion advocates are not only reluctant to acknowledge the dangers but also pushing to relax the regulations on the drug’s use.
Before you make assumptions about the safety of the abortion pill, make sure you are armed with the facts.
How the Abortion Pill Works
Typically, a doctor (or abortionist) prescribes a woman two medications: mifepristone and misoprostol. They are to be taken in sequence, up to 48 hours apart.
The first drug, mifepristone, starves the unborn baby of nutrients to kill it. It is, essentially, a poison. The second drug, misoprostol, tells the woman’s body to empty the uterus. This causes bleeding and cramps, which may be severe and last for weeks.
Because many women immediately regret their abortions, and thanks to medical developments, there is now what is called an “abortion pill reversal” treatment. If you have taken mifepristone but have not yet taken misoprostol, you may still be able to save your baby.
Comparative Risks of the Abortion Pill
When mifepristone was approved in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the year 2000, it was immediately subject to strict regulation. For example, it required doctors to use a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) when prescribing it. An REMS is used to prevent injury from potentially-dangerous medications. However, abortion advocates—including a former FDA commisioner—have continually lobbied to have mifepristone removed from the REMS list.
One main rationale those abortion advocates offer is that mifepristone has a “less than one percent chance” of causing serious complications. This fact alone might indeed seem like sufficient reason to regulate the medication less strictly, until we notice that other drugs such as Zyprexa Relprevv–the drug the FDA uses as their website example of an REMS medication—are on the list because of a “less than a one percent chance” of causing a serious reaction.
In other words, some experts consider less than one percent chance of injury to be sufficient for serious regulation… unless it’s the abortion pill.
Obviously, all medication comes with a risk of side effects, but nobody should be comfortable with proposing more relaxed regulations on the abortion pill than on other FDA-approved drugs.
The Rising Support for Do-It-Yourself Abortion
Although the push to remove the REMS mandate has thus far failed, people are slowly succeeding in doing away with many rules governing the administration of mifepristone.
For instance, the law initially required doctors to administer the medication in their office, then provide follow-up care. This is safe, logical protocol; doctors should ensures the woman takes the medication as prescribed, and they should follow-up to make sure she’s recovered.
Over time, however, healthcare providers have shouldered less and less legal responsibility.
As of June 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA now allows doctors to simply send the pills to their patients through the mail, with no in-person contact with any healthcare provider required.
What Is the Real Danger of the Loosened Guidelines?
Again, even over-the-counter medication has potential to cause harm, so you may still wonder why the increasingly lax guidelines for mifepristone are so odd by comparison. What reasons do you have, for example, to undergo a medical examination before and after taking it, when you would never think to do so with an aspirin tablet?
Although this is hardly a comprehensive list, here are just three issues that should give a potential patient pause when considering ordering an abortion online:
Mifepristone is only approved for pregnancy up to 10 weeks. Without an ultrasound, a woman cannot be certain how far along she is in her pregnancy. Women often miscalculate by weeks or even months.
The abortion pill frequently fails to complete an abortion. This means that the mother is left with part or all of her child, as well as other extra tissue, still in her uterus. This can lead to a life-threatening infection. Only a physician can diagnose and treat this condition.
A medication abortion is not just like “getting your period,” no matter what any teen magazine claims. It is a painful procedure that a significant number of patients describe as “10 out of 10” on the pain scale. Furthermore, the blood loss is substantial. Undergoing this experience outside a medical setting can be traumatic at best, but the greater concern is that a patient will not know what is normal and what is a symptom of a serious complication. Patients do not know when and if to seek emergency care. And if they are alone, they may not even be able to do so.
Despite the danger, people are still pushing for easier access and less oversight of abortion medication. Easy money still lures health professionals to lower the legal standards as much as possible. Unless consumers demand greater transparency, this trend will only continue.
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