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Steve Weatherbe

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Colorado may require abortionists to tell women chemical abortions can be reversed

Steve Weatherbe

DENVER, Colorado, February 9, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) —Women receiving chemically induced abortions have a right to know they can reverse the procedure after they take the first pill, legislators heard Wednesday.

Colorado legislators are considering an informed consent bill (HB1086) that would require abortionists to let women know there is drug treatment to stop chemical abortions if they decide they want their unborn babies to live. The researcher monitoring the treatment claims a success rate of 55 percent to 75 percent.

Denise Burke of Americans United for Life told members of the Colorado House of Representatives’ Health Committee, “When a woman is not given comprehensive and medically accurate information, her ‘choice’ to abort is, in reality, no choice at all.”

Chemical abortions require two drugs. The first is mifepristone, also known as RU-486 and marketed as Mifeprex. It binds itself to the progesterone produced by the pregnant woman, which starves the unborn child to death. The second drug is misoprostol. Taken orally a day or two later, it causes the baby’s body to be expelled from the womb.

However, a California-based team of doctors and nurses claims repeated doses of progesterone after the mifepristone is injected can reverse its effects and allow the birth of a healthy child. Headed by Dr. George Delgado, the Culture of Life Family Services has called its protocol Abortion Pill Reversal (APR).

On its website, women find an advice hotline linked to several hundred doctors across the U.S. and the world who are willing to administer the progesterone and monitor the patient. However, the first step is to check via ultrasound to determine whether the child is alive.

Three states have enacted similar legislation. Burke told the committee that 33 states have “enforceable, general informed consent requirements,” protected by the Supreme Court’s 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

The judges acknowledged in that ruling that informed consent reduced “the risk that woman may elect an abortion, only to discover later, with devastating psychological consequences, that her decision was not fully informed.”

But abortion advocates say abortion reversal demeans women, is not backed up by science, and may be dangerous.

“It is just insulting to her intelligence to imply that she isn’t capable of making a decision and following through with that decision. We trust women can make their decisions as consenting adults.” Gabrielle Goodrick of the Arizona branch of National Abortion Rights Action League told Rewire.

Nevertheless, Burke told Colorado legislators, “Abortion advocates frequently claim to be ‘pro-choice,’ but they only actually support the choice to have an abortion.”

The pro-abortion American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) put out a fact sheet against abortion reversal. It claims that mifepristone alone fails to kill the unborn child “in 30 percent to 50 percent” of cases.

But because Culture of Life Family Services’ 55 percent success rate is only slightly better, ACOG claims that “doing nothing and waiting to see what happens is just as effective as intervening with a course of progesterone.”

However, a rival group, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), says in a fact sheet that the natural failure rate for mifepristone alone is 15 percent. This makes claims for APR far more substantial.

Dr. Delgado agrees. He says ACOG’s numbers do not refer to how often mifepristone fails to kill the unborn baby. This is 15 percent of the time, as AAPLOG reports. ACOG’s higher numbers refer to how often mifepristone used alone fails to empty the womb of all fetal remains.

Opponents then argue that the only scientific evidence is a single anecdotal study of six patients treated with progesterone conducted by Delgado. In four cases, the baby survived.

But AAPLOG, in a 2015 article in Christianity Today, claimed, “As of March 31, 89 babies have been born and dozens more unborn babies are alive following progesterone reversal of mifepristone. Only one minor birth defect, a port-wine stain, has occurred in this group thus far; this does not appear related to the mifepristone or progesterone.” 

Pro-abortion ACOG says progesterone “can cause significant cardiovascular, nervous system and endocrine adverse reactions as well as other side effects.”

AAPLOG counters that the technique carries little risk because progesterone is a natural product of a woman’s body. Dr. Delgado adds that the risks are overblown and “the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) considers it safe to use in pregnancies.” In fact, its use is routine in In Vitro Fertilization.

Burke also told Colorado legislators that Mifeprex itself creates well-documented health problems for women. She informed them that the manufacturer admits “[n]early all of the women who receive Mifeprex [RU-486] and misoprostol will report adverse reactions, and many can be expected to report more than one such reaction.”

“These adverse reactions,” she testified, “include, but are not limited to, abdominal pain, cramping, vomiting, headache, fatigue, uterine hemorrhage, viral infections, and pelvic inflammatory disease.”

Burke added that in 2011 the Federal Drug Administration “reported 2,207 adverse events in the U.S. after women used RU-486. Among these were 14 deaths, 612 hospitalizations, 339 blood transfusions, and 256 infections, including 48 ‘severe infections.”

Dr. Delgado has up-to-date numbers. He told LifeSiteNews the APR protocol has saved “around 250” babies who have been delivered safely. “Another 100 babies are in excellent condition in their mothers’ wombs.”

He is nearly ready to publish a new study with 300 cases. While the general success rate remains at 55 percent, “with some subgroups we have success rates of 65 percent to 75 percent” using progesterone regimes that could turn out to be applicable to most women.

Dr. Delgado scoffed at claims that his treatment demeaned women by presuming they could not stick to a decision. “Women don’t want to have abortions. They want solutions to their problem. They want an exit strategy.”

He added, “People change their minds after really important decisions all the time. It’s the human condition. Buying a house. Getting married. If the other side is really pro-choice, what’s wrong with being pro-second choice?”

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