(CNA) The number of women seeking medical abortions at home through an experimental US telemedicine provider has reportedly doubled under the coronavirus outbreak, although life advocates have said there are good reasons to restrict the practice.
“Unfortunately, women are influenced by fear right now, and that’s perpetuated by the abortion industry,” said Dr. Christina Francis, Indiana-based OB/GYN and board chair. from the American Association of Pro-Life OBGYNs. EWTN Pro-Life Weekly April 23.
Tweet this: “Unfortunately, women are influenced by fear right now, and this is perpetuated by the abortion industry”
“We are certainly all facing uncertain circumstances,” Francis said. “There are a lot of women who find themselves pregnant and don’t know what they’re going to do. Maybe they’re dealing with the fact that they don’t have a job or they’re having trouble putting on food on the table, but that’s not a reason to push women to have an abortion.
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Gynuity Health Products, based in New York, is the sponsor of the telemedicine-style abortion project TelAbortion, now active in 13 states.
“The ability to obtain abortion medication from a health care provider by mail is especially critical in the COVID-19 crisis,” Gynuity said on Twitter April 29. The organization’s website describes its mission as a development and advocacy group for reproductive and maternal health.
Gynuity’s TelAbortion Project reports that, with the exception of Illinois and Maryland, which are new to the program, the number of women seeking abortions through TelAbortion doubled in March and April compared to January and February, a The New York Times reported in its April 28 profile of the project. and several women who have used it.
There are very strict regulations regarding chemical abortion for a reason
The coronavirus outbreak has prompted strict stay-at-home orders in many states. Fearing a shortage of medical resources, authorities have banned elective surgeries, and some states are including elective abortions in the ban.
Francis warned of a push to lift restrictions around medical abortions dispensed through telemedicine methods.
“There are very strict regulations on how this is used for a reason,” Francis told EWTN Pro-Life Weekly. “We know that the later in pregnancy this is used, the greater the risks, especially the risk of bleeding, and what we would call an incomplete abortion, where a woman does not go through the entire pregnancy because of the drug. . .”
“Additionally, these women need to be screened to ensure that they actually have a pregnancy inside the womb, as opposed to an ectopic pregnancy. If left undiagnosed, it could be fatal for her.
A medical abortion, sometimes called a chemical abortion, is a two-step process that involves the ingestion of two drugs: mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone effectively starves the unborn baby by blocking the effects of progesterone. The second drug, misoprostol, is taken up to two days later and induces labor.
Although U.S. Food and Drug Administration rules require that the first drug be dispensed in clinics or hospitals by specially certified physicians or other medical providers, they do not require providers to see patients in person. Some clinics allow women to consult by video.
Medical abortion was first approved by the FDA in 2000 for women 10 weeks or earlier pregnant. About 60% of women who choose abortion in this time frame now choose drugs over surgery.
TelAbortion “is now working to expand to as many states as possible”
The FDA authorizes the TelAbortion program by special arrangement, as part of a research study. After the women have seen the program staff, they receive pills in the mail and have follow-up appointments.
The program grew from five states to 13 last year, reports The New York Times. In addition to Illinois and Maryland, the project is active in Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, New York, l Oregon and Washington.
TelAbortion is “now working to expand to as many states as possible,” Dr. Elizabeth Raymond, senior associate at Gynuity Health Products, told The New York Times.
Tweet this: TelAbortion “is now striving to expand to as many states as possible” – sr. Partner, Gynuity Health Products, TelAbortion Project Sponsor
Raymond said TelAbortion had sent 841 packages containing abortion pills and confirmed that as of April 22, 611 abortions had been performed. Another 216 women were following or did not contact TelAbortion about the outcome.
Of the completed abortions, TelAbortion said aspiration was performed to complete the abortion in 26 cases.
Of the women who had an abortion, 46 went to the emergency room or urgent care centers. Three were hospitalized and successfully treated: two for excessive bleeding and another for a seizure after an aspiration, Raymond said. Fifteen of these women did not require medical attention. Raymond told the New York Times that problems were just as likely to arise if women had been required to consult in person.
Mallory Quigley, vice president of communications for the Susan B. Anthony pro-life list, emphasized the concern for safety.
“Despite guidelines issued by the FDA to regulate the sale and use of abortion pills, groups like TelAbortion continue to prey on girls as young as 10 with complete disregard for their safety,” Quigley told CNA on April 29.
Gynuity, the sponsor of the TelAbortion project, has close ties to the abortion industry and influential global NGOs. Its co-founder and president, Beverly Winikoff, is a former deputy director of health services at the Rockefeller Foundation, a major supporter of legal abortion. For 25 years, she was Director of Reproductive Health and Senior Medical Associate at the Population Council.
Chemical abortions pose serious risks
Under President Donald Trump, the FDA has always allowed TelAbortion to operate. Some legislators have sought to change this.
The teleabortion prevention bill would make it a federal offense for health care providers to perform a chemical abortion without first performing a physical exam. They should be present during the procedure and schedule a follow-up visit.
The legislation is sponsored by U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, R-La., who is a medical doctor. It has 10 co-sponsors, all Republicans.
“Performing an abortion without a health care provider present puts the lives of both the mother and the unborn child in grave danger. Chemical abortions pose serious risks and health care providers must be responsible guardians of this knowledge,” said U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., co-sponsor of the bill, in a February announcement. .
Another co-sponsor, Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said the bill would make “mail order abortions” a federal offense.
“I strongly believe that advances in medicine should be used to save lives, not take them away,” he said.
Editor’s note: This report was published by Catholic News Agency and is reproduced with permission