Last week my pastor showed a video on the miraculous development of a child in the womb, celebrating Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. You could hear the murmur of awe as people marveled anew at the amazing work that goes into the creation of a human life, played out in beautiful graphics in four minutes.
Today, or any other day of the year, people will celebrate life by standing outside an abortion clinic, eager to share just how precious and wonderful life is with those going inside. Others will serve the women who have been led to a pro-life pregnancy resource center and are searching for options on how to handle an unexpected pregnancy. In both situations, many lives will be saved by the involvement of those who are on site and see the danger and tragedy of abortion.
But the battle for life is no longer always so visible or accessible; the abortion business is rapidly taking over a new frontline – the privacy of home. In 2000, the FDA approved the drug Mifepristone (RU-486) for use in chemical abortions. In March 2016, the FDA relaxed standards on the use of the drug so that it can be used up to 10 weeks of pregnancy instead of seven and reduced the number of suggested doctor visits from three to two. The FDA also began a clinical trial in four states allowing women to receive the abortion-causing drugs by mail.
In this scenario, women obtain an ultrasound (presumably from any healthcare provider) to confirm pregnancy but can complete an abortion consultation over the computer. The drug is then mailed to the address they provide where they take two consecutive pills, one to kill the baby and one to expel the baby, without leaving home.
The system, which uses telemedicine (medical care via media technologies), has already been used since 2008 in some Planned Parenthood centers that do not have a medically licensed abortionist in the building, although 19 states have banned abortion by telemedicine, also known as webcam abortions.
Use of the abortion drug has been fraught with complications: hemorrhaging, infections, severe cramps and bleeding, and death. In 2009, the medical journal Obstetrics and Gynecology published a study that found chemical abortion has four times more adverse effects than surgical abortion. When a woman takes the drug on her own, secretly and silently, the risks and effects are swift and severe. There is typically about 72 hours after the first dose before its work is irrevocable.
However, within that time-frame, there is a way out. Additional doses of progesterone hormones (blocked by Mifepristone) may reverse the effect of RU-486 and stop the abortion from occurring. Pro-life doctor George Delgado has pioneered in abortion reversal, and nearly 400 women who changed their minds after taking the first abortion pill have saved their babies through abortion reversal treatments. The treatment is currently described as 50-60% effective.
The interesting part is that abortion reversal can reach women in the same way that the webcam abortion does – through telemedicine. Just as baby-killing drugs can be shopped for and found online, so can the abortion reversal medication. And when it comes to rescuing the baby after the first abortion pill has been swallowed, using telemedicine to expedite the process is a lifesaver.
And so the fight to protect women and children from the devastation of abortion is going beyond abortion clinics into the quiet homes of individuals and into the vast landscape of the Internet. While women search for and order abortions at any hour of the day or night from their personal computers and devices, those who change their minds at the last minute are also desperately combing the web for a way out.
Many pro-life centers and medical offices are providing the answer by adding abortion reversal ads to their Internet footprint and by giving 24/7 emergency hotlines to their clinics. When a woman calls for help to stop an abortion, a nurse can answer her call and refer her to a nearby source for the abortion reversal medication.
In this new battleground for life, webcam abortions give abortion providers an edge in effecting quick, deadly, and unattended action. But at the same time, telemedicine and the instantaneous nature of the digitized world is the only thing fast enough to work to defeat it.
- Support the work of pro-life pregnancy centers that educate women about abortion risks and alternatives and can spread the word about the possibility of abortion drug reversal.
- Encourage your local pregnancy care centers and healthcare providers to get involved in sharing about and/or providing abortion pill reversal.
- Ask for legislation in your state passing Abortion Pill Reversal Information Acts that require abortionists to tell abortion clients that the abortion pill can be reversed. Americans United for Life has model legislation to use in passing a bill.
- Find out if your state has a ban on webcam abortions. Push for stricter regulations on the use of RU-486 and on moderating the use of telemedicine.