October 19, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A website which aims to provide U.S. women with abortion pills without seeing a doctor in person started operations this week.
Known as “Aid Access,” the website purports to connect pregnant women with a “doctor” for an online consultation via the internet, before being supplied with abortifacients mifepristone and misoprostol by mail. The website was created by Netherlands abortion activist Rebecca Gomperts.
The women then take the pills at home, without the oversight of a medical doctor.
“For the first time, women in the United States who want abortions but are unable either to get to a clinic or afford clinic care can log on to a website, find evidence-based information about the procedure, and get abortion-inducing medication shipped directly to their homes,” states the website Mother Jones.
The Aid Access website offers a troubling explanation of who the organization seeks to serve and how, including minors who want to hide their pregnancies from their parents:
For many women, girls and trans men it is very difficult to access abortion care because of the cost of abortion, mandatory 24-72 hour waiting periods, the requirement of parental consent for minors, or the fact that clinics have been forced to close completely.
The site states that it is safe for women and girls to take mifepristone and misoprostol on their own, citing a questionable British Medical Journal (BMJ) study released last year.
Critics debunked the BMJ study, which claims to show that women can “safely” abort their preborn children using abortion pills, as unscientific, problematic, and lacking any real credibility.
The authors of the study based their findings on data provided by the Netherlands-based pro-abortion organization Women on Web, which is the same organization which launched the Aid Access website. Over the years, the organization has provided pills, even illegally, to women seeking an early abortion in more than 140 countries where access to abortion is restricted.
Flawed study is dangerously misleading
The non-peer reviewed study, titled “Self reported outcomes and adverse events after medical abortion through online telemedicine,” tracked the outcomes of some 1,000 women in Ireland and Northern Ireland who used the site to obtain abortion pills, also known as RU-486.
Critics said the study lacks rigorous scientific standards for data collection. Much like the abortion services Women on Web seeks to provide, data was obtained via remote digital contact, relying on self-reporting of individuals, not observations and data collection by trained medical professionals.
“The main problem with this study is that of the 1600 women who self-induced medical abortions without medical supervision, — 600 (over 30 percent) did not respond to a follow-up survey,” said Michael J. New, Visiting Assistant Professor at the Busch School of Business at The Catholic University of America and an Associate Scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute.
Significantly, “There is a good chance that women who did not follow up were more likely to experience medical complications than those women who were happy to participate,” he added.
Professor New called the study “not particularly rigorous.”
“It looks at the health outcomes from a group of 1,000 women who performed medical abortions at home. It does not compare these women to another group of women who had medical abortions under medical supervision,” he said.
In the study, the authors claim that only about 10% of respondents reported symptoms of potentially serious complications, such as very heavy bleeding, which is comparable to the rates for women who seek medical abortions at clinics. Seven women reported needing a blood transfusion and 26 ended up requiring antibiotics, underscoring the potential for significant tragedy.
Dead women unable to self-report bad side effects
It remains unclear how the authors claim that “no one in the study died,” given the impossibility of a woman performing a medical procedure done in secret “self-reporting” her own death.
But the study’s questionable methodology did not stop mainstream media from repeating its conclusion that the data provides the “best evidence to date that self-sourced medical abortion through online telemedicine is highly effective, with low rates of complications.”
In fact, this remains part of the propaganda secular media is using to promote the newly launched online abortion pill service.
Putting women and girls lives at risk
Pro-life advocates have warned that the pro-abortion group that supplied the data for the study is putting the lives of women at risk.
After the BMJ study was published last year, Ireland’s Precious Life director Bernadette Smyth told the BBC there is “no such thing as a safe abortion,” and that the group promoting this study is “putting the lives and health of pregnant women in Ireland at risk by promoting self-use of abortion pills.”
She criticized the study as having “no credibility.”
For years, the same organization which is now operating the Aid Access website supplied abortions via telemedicine in Ireland, before a recent national referendum made abortion legal.
American pro-life organizations have also pointed out the study's shortcomings.
“There is a surprising lack of basic medical information, and all of the information is self-reported,” said Dr. Donna Harrison, associate scholar and executive director of American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
“There is not even any confirmation that the women who took the drugs were actually pregnant – no confirmatory urine or blood test by a medical professional, no ultrasound, no confirmation of any basic data,” she continued. “And, there is no report of how many women died…no confirmation of any of the self-reported complications. There is not even any way to tell if women died. Seriously? This study should have been thrown out in peer review.”
Chuck Donovan, president of Charlotte Lozier Institute, said the study “reeks of bias and flagrant disregard for protective laws.”
“Its publication in a respected medical journal is shameful and irresponsible. Here in the United States, we owe it to vulnerable women as well as their unborn children to conduct neutral, national reporting on abortion pill complications and restore strict FDA regulation of these dangerous drugs,” he said.
Arina Grossu, Director of the Family Research Council’s Center for Human Dignity, called the study “problematic.”
“Women on Web has no regard for women’s health and safety . . . No doctor actually examines the woman to see how far along she actually is or what her conditions are. If the woman is farther along than she thinks, she runs a higher risk of complications and hospitalization,” she said.
Grossu said that even the study found that the older the baby was, the “higher the risk of an incomplete abortion needing surgical intervention [was], doubling for the women who were 7-9 weeks along compared to those who were less than 7 weeks along.”
Grossu said an FDA Adverse Events Report which looked at 1.5 million women from Sept. 2000 to April 2011 who used mifepristone gives a better indicator of the complications that arise from abortion pills.
“The Adverse Events Report lists 2,207 reported cases of adverse events including 14 deaths, 612 hospitalizations, 58 ectopic pregnancies, 339 cases of blood loss requiring transfusions, and 256 cases of infections, of which 48 cases were considered severe,” she said.
“There is no such thing as a safe abortion,” she added.
Observers say that abortion via telemedicine is now growing in popularity in the USA, as some states have moved to limit access to abortion and as concern over the fate of Roe v. Wade grows, especially now that Brett Kavanaugh has been confirmed to the Supreme Court.