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Fact Check Friday- Safe and Simple Abortion?

This weeks claim...

“Abortion Pills are a safe alternative to an unplanned pregnancy.”

What they say.

Planned Parenthood can’t seem to say enough about how safe abortion pills are, “Safe and effective,” “Safe and simple,” “Safe and super common,” are phrases repeated throughout their website. The FDA, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) all agree, it’s really really safe…really. (The studies cited however are from 2012. And remember that these groups all have something to gain from the growing abortion industry.) The real-life stories and current 2023 statistics don’t always support the claims of this “safe and simple” procedure.


Let’s take a closer look. What exactly is the abortion pill?

Often called Medication Abortion, the abortion pill is actually a combination of chemicals intended to end a pregnancy. Two chemicals are administered in the form of a series of pills, Mifepristone and Misoprostol, which within 48 hours, end the life of an unborn human being. Mifepristone blocks the pregnancy hormone, progesterone, from being absorbed by the growing pregnancy, while Misoprostol causes uterine contractions that expel the growing baby.

The drug was initially intended for pregnancy up to 10 weeks, but that safeguard has been relaxed by the FDA to allow medication abortion up to 14 weeks. (Alarmingly, the 2022 Pennsylvania abortion report shows medication abortions through 24 weeks—6 months into a pregnancy.) Non-physicians can now dispense the drugs, and only one office visit is required, which may be replaced by a telehealth visit. Physicians are no longer required to report non-fatal adverse effects. And, in 2021, the FDA further loosened safeguards authorizing mail-order abortions which further separates women from actual healthcare. The United States Supreme Court will be reviewing a case in coming months that addresses the issue of these FDA deregulations. The court case, The FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, has moved through the lower courts which have overwhelmingly agreed that the rollback of restrictions on the abortion pill is harmful and can put women at catastrophic risk for complications. 

But is it safe? 

The procedure is essentially a DIY abortion completed at home leaving a woman alone and with little access to pre and post abortion care. Mifepristone’s packaging instructions clearly advises women to consult an ultrasound to determine the gestational age of the baby before administering the drug, yet clinics, pharmacies, and online sales websites fail to provide this vital service.

By promoting medical abortion, big pharmaceutical companies are now cashing in while women are further separated from genuine health care. Promotion of these “self-managed” abortions and “pills by mail” ignore widely acknowledged health protections like medical screening, informed consent, and parental involvement for minors. Without an ultrasound, many women cannot confidently determine if they are within the number of weeks gestation to safely use these pills. The baby is expelled, usually in the toilet. Cramping, pain, and excessive bleeding are common and to be expected. The details for determining if the “contents of the uterus” have passed are spelled out (in very graphic detail) here:

While chemical abortions are increasing in Pennsylvania, the number of reported complications from abortions are increasing as well. There were over 469 reported complications from abortion in 2022, a 43% increase from the previous year. The number of complications has tripled in the last 5 years and the 2022 number is the highest recorded in decades. In the absence of a doctor’s care, abortion pills are simply not safe. Nationally, Mifepristone has been associated with dozens of deaths and hundreds of life-threatening complications that we know of. Expanding “abortion care” has been preferred over women’s health. 

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