Mail-Order Abortion Pills Put Women's Health And Fertility At Risk

The coronavirus lockdown has instigated massive changes in industries across the country - and that includes the abortion industry.

By Molly Farinholt2 min read

Since the beginning of the lockdown, companies like Plan C (a remote abortion service), and more traditional abortion providers like Planned Parenthood have been pushing to increase access to chemical abortions, without the necessary preventative care that's usually provided to pregnant women. Proponents of medical abortions insist that they're safe, but there's a serious lack of discussion about the dangers posed not only by the lack of pre-abortion screening services, but, as you're about to read, other screenings that are necessary for reproductive health and fertility. This leaves you to wonder, why are so-called defenders of women's health so quick to eliminate these standard care procedures?

Abortion Industry Lowers Standards of Care — at the Risk of Women’s Health

These abortion providers seem to have abandoned the health and well-being of women and their future children, in exchange for more easily accessible and widely distributed chemical abortion pills. The National Abortion Federation’s 2020 Clinical Policy Guidelines state that, while the standard of care was formerly to test for the rhesus factor (Rh) and to treat a woman if needed, chemical abortion sales associates may now forego Rh testing in pregnancies less than 56 days (which will only be confirmed by the mother’s word). 

The Importance of Rhesus Factor Tests

Most people have Rhesus factor (an inherited protein on the surface of red blood cells), making them Rh positive. However, approximately 15% of people lack this protein and are considered Rh negative. This typically poses no issues for an individual. But it can lead to serious complications during pregnancy if a mother and her child are Rh incompatible. It is, therefore, imperative that a woman is tested for this during pregnancy.

If the blood of an Rh negative mother comes in contact with that of her Rh positive baby, the mother’s body may react by producing Rh antibodies. In subsequent pregnancies, an Rh positive baby could be fatally harmed by these antibodies. Fortunately, doctors screen women for this and are able to administer injections of Rh immunoglobulin, which prevents the production of the antibodies. 

An Rh positive baby could be fatally harmed by the antibodies made by the Rh negative mother. 

However, these providers no longer want to test women for this life-threatening condition before distributing abortion pills. This means that if a woman is Rh negative and aborts her Rh positive baby, she will come into contact with that Rh positive blood (as abortion pills make women cramp and bleed in the process of ridding their body of their baby) and produce the antibodies that stay with her for a lifetime. Such occurrences could render a woman permanently infertile. 

The ACLU Is Suing the FDA for Preventing Access to Remote Abortions

Furthermore, in the midst of pandemic chaos, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for refusing to let doctors dispense abortion pills (specifically mifepristone) remotely. 

Chemical abortion sales associates may now forego Rh testing in pregnancies less than 56 days.

The FDA stated that these restrictions are “necessary for mifepristone when used for medical termination of early pregnancy in order to ensure that the benefits of the drug outweigh its risks.” The restrictions, which include ultrasounds to check for ectopic pregnancy and blood testing to determine the presence or absence of the rhesus factor, are life-saving protocols. The FDA has reported over 4,000 adverse events — including deaths — from the use of abortion pills. Doing away with the tests would undoubtedly increase these cases. 

The Potential Consequences of Foregoing Tests

Infertility from undiagnosed Rh incompatibility is not the only potential consequence of such changes. The aforementioned ultrasounds that look for ectopic pregnancy (a life-threatening situation in which the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus) are now deemed unnecessary. Ectopic pregnancies can be very dangerous for the mother and often require surgical treatment. 

The other issue with eliminating testing is improperly dating a pregnancy. Pills taken after a certain gestational age can cause severe complications that often require emergency surgery. If a doctor doesn’t perform an ultrasound to accurately determine gestational age, he’s putting the mother at great risk. 

Closing Thoughts

Testing is seen as a barrier to abortion access when, in reality, it’s a safeguard against grave and horrific complications or even death. Abortion providers like Planned Parenthood and Plan C claim to serve and support women's reproductive health, but this push to eliminate potentially life-saving screening procedures puts that mission in doubt.