Why the push for at-home abortions is bad for women

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Abortion activists periodically lobby to make abortions easily accessible in ways that endanger women even more than the current abortion industry.  Every abortion ends the life of preborn child, and every abortion puts a mother at risk for life-threatening complications. Making abortion accessible through telemedicine and substandard clinics heightens these risks for women.  Sometimes even these measures are not considered enough by radical abortion activists, and they encourage “DIY” and at-home abortions.

In a stunning recent example, this last dangerous practice was being encouraged not by fringe radicals but by a body of reproductive physicians.  In the United Kingdom, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is urging England to allow women to undergo medication abortions at home with no supervision from an abortionist.  RCOG went so far as to say that not allowing these unsupervised, at-home abortions would “punish” women because they would be required to go to a hospital for the abortion. Nothing could be further from the truth. Requiring supervision for a procedure that ends the life of a woman’s growing preborn baby is a commonsense measure for several reasons, which even staunch abortion promoters should recognize.

Medical abortions are not, as the abortion industry often advertises merely “like having a period.”  In the process of the medical abortion, the first pill, mifepristone, breaks down the uterine lining, which kills the growing baby.  The second pill, misoprostol, which is usually taken 24-48 hours later, expels the body of the dead baby by inducing contractions.  This violent and lethal process can cause severe reactions in the woman, as with cases like Kimi Faxon Hemingway, who was in dire condition after the first drug failed to kill her baby.  

After undergoing a medical abortion, Hemingway continued to bleed for months.   Hemingway made several follow-up visits to the abortion facility where she had received the abortion pills, but Hemingway received no medical assistance.  The severity of her situation was only discovered when she collapsed in an airport and was taken to a hospital. The abortion clinic’s failure to intervene in Hemingway’s life-threatening ordeal should be an indictment of the abortion industry’s lack of professionalism and compassion.  If abortion pills are taken at home without supervision, Hemingway’s experience would simply be the norm.

Another severe risk overlooked by at-home medical abortions is ectopic pregnancy.  There have been several tragic cases in which women undergo abortions, only to die from a ruptured ectopic pregnancy that was not diagnosed by the abortionists.  This is one of the medical reasons why pre-abortion ultrasounds are of great importance. The abortion pill does not kill a baby developing outside the uterus, and thus a woman who takes the abortion pill may think she is no longer pregnant without realizing that she is experiencing an ectopic pregnancy.  Even anti-Life groups acknowledge this serious risk, which indicates that medical abortions should not be done without supervision.

Most importantly, medical abortions should not occur at home because a woman in a crisis pregnancy needs personal interaction.  Meeting with a woman face-to-face to ensure her informed consent and to give her access to available resources so she knows all her options is the bare minimum standard of care for a life-and-death decision like abortion.  That is why Texas requires abortion clinics to show women their ultrasounds, give them “A Woman’s Right to Know,” and ensure a 24-hour waiting period before acting on an abortion decision.  

Assessing if a woman is being coerced in her decision is another important aspect of pre-abortion counseling.  Studies show that 64 percent of post-abortive women “felt pressured by others” to undergo an abortion. Whether a family member, boyfriend, or employer, people urge women to choose abortion as “an easy way out.”  Pro-Life sidewalk counselors at abortion facilities play a vital role in connecting women with resources that the profit-driven abortion facility counseling so often fails to offer.

This social pressure to choose abortion and a lack of information does lead women to regret their medical abortions.  Proper counseling should discover significant coercion and provide women with the support necessary to choose independently.  One woman who was coerced and not given information about the medical abortion was traumatized when she delivered the body of her deceased seven-week-old child.

Women deserve to be fully-informed and supported.  In a crisis pregnancy, the baby is not the crisis; circumstances are.  If abortions are relegated to clandestine, DIY procedures, women will not have access to information and resources that mean the difference between Life and death.

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