Recently two Philadelphia-area OB-GYNS penned an opinion piece extolling the safety of medication/chemical abortion which accounts for the majority of abortions both nationally and statewide. In an attempt to normalize an extremely unnatural procedure, they omitted information that every young woman and the general public should know.

Chemical abortion involves a regimen of two pills. Mifepristone blocks progesterone, thereby cutting off nutrients to the developing (but indisputably human) living child. Misoprostol is taken a few days later to expel the child from the womb. The authors of the aforementioned piece claim that this is a “safe and easy” procedure.

Nothing can be further from the truth.

Chemical abortion has four times the complication rate of surgical abortion. (Charlotte Lozier Institute, July 2022). As chemical abortions increase, so do complications. According to PA abortion statistics released by the Department of Health, chemical abortions have increased 17% in the Commonwealth since 2017, but complications from abortions have increased 125% in the same time frame.

In approximately three quarters of the cases, the complication involves “retained products of conception.” In other words, parts of the child’s body remain in the mother’s womb, causing infection and potentially sepsis. Chemical abortion can also cause hemorrhaging that a young woman may not recognize as abnormal and dangerous.

At least 26 deaths have been attributed to chemical abortion by the FDA. But those deaths were overlooked in the doctors’ article as were the 4000 adverse effects reported between 2002-2015. The rate of abortion-related emergency room visits following a chemical abortion increased over 500% during this time period, according to an analysis of Medicaid claims data. (Charlotte Lozier Institute, November 2021).

One might think that the percentage of deaths and complications is low given the widespread distribution of the abortion pill. But this is far from “settled science” because available data is incomplete.

In 2016 the Obama-era FDA lifted the reporting requirement for adverse effects for the abortion pill regimen. Currently, only 28 states require providers to report post-abortion complications. How can any doctor proclaim the safety of the abortion pill when we’ve stopped collecting data on how unsafe it can be?

The FDA has now permanently lifted the in-person examination requirement and has given the green light to retail pharmacies to dispense the abortion pill regimen.

Via a virtual visit or phone call, a desperate and fearful young woman can potentially answer a few questions before picking up the abortion pill at her neighborhood CVS or perhaps have it delivered to her by mail. Without any physical examination, either before or after the abortion.

Suspending the safety protocols that were once required raises troubling questions.

What if a woman is further along than she thinks? The FDA recommends chemical abortion only through the 10th week of pregnancy. Rates of complication increase as pregnancy progresses.

What if her pregnancy is ectopic? The abortion pill will not resolve this medical emergency and her life can be seriously endangered.

What if she is unknowingly carrying twins? She may deliver one child and not realize another remains in her womb.

What if she is unknowingly Rh negative? She may jeopardize her ability to have children in the future.

What if she is forever traumatized when she sees a tiny leg or hand or nose as she flushes away “her pregnancy tissue” that is really her child?

Chemical abortion may seem like an “easy” path out of an unexpected pregnancy. However, it is not without both short- and long-term physical and emotional risks, and more so now than ever.

Women in crisis deserve better than this distorted form of “medicine.” They deserve authentic tangible help that will support them through a pregnancy and beyond. And their unrepeatable children deserve the same chance at life that you, and I, and the abortion doctors have been given.