Actions speak louder than words: Abortion providers protect abortion over women

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Pregnancy help medical clinics protect women and babies

It’s their actions that reveal the ruse.

Their language has been powerful in creating a pro-woman narrative, insisting abortion is “essential healthcare.” Abortion advocates are unequivocal in their talking points: the health and safety of women rely on the availability of abortion on demand. And with that language, they make abortion providers the heroes of women's health.

Spice it up with “fake clinic” language to mark (and target) pregnancy medical centers (PMCs) as the ones creating a medical ruse and you have a great story. The language is effective (though deceitful) in making PMCs the villains of women’s health.

But there comes a time – like right now – when the story breaks down. When actions are just too powerful to override language – when the clear contradiction should make everyone rethink the narrative they’ve been handed.

The current practices of abortion providers make it clear - the medical ruse is on the other foot.

Abortion providers are now providing abortion pills, without in-person, real-time medical services – the very services that would provide some protections for women’s health.

Their actions speak. Abortion “care” is more about getting pills into women’s hands – protecting the practice of abortion itself – than protecting the women who are getting abortions.

Yet, the abortion pill providers still have to sign prescriber agreements that require they care for women’s health. They sign off agreeing they meet standards, but the standards can only ethically protect women’s health if they include in-person services. Among these are the ability to accurately assess the age of the pregnancy and the ability to diagnose ectopic pregnancies. It’s all in the agreement forms (you can read them here, here, and here).

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Despite this clear contradiction between what they agree to do and what they are doing, abortion researchers have found that telehealth abortions (even with zero real-time connection with a provider) are “safe and effective.”

In a bizarre twist, this finding was based on a study, “Effectiveness and safety of telehealth medication abortion in the USA,” published earlier this year, that included hard evidence that virtual-only services do not protect women.

The evidence? In this particular study, the evidence is six women. Six women went through the telehealth process and received the abortion pills while having undetected ectopic pregnancies. For at least one of these women, the result was the loss of one or more of her fallopian tubes.

The telehealth screening tools failed to protect these women, but even that didn’t stop the researchers from labeling telehealth abortions as safe and effective. And these six are just the participants we definitively know about. At the end of the study, almost one-fourth of the participants couldn’t be reached for follow-up. So, we have no way of knowing exactly what happened to them after they received their abortion pills via telehealth.

Online screening tools are used to determine if a woman is likely to have an ectopic pregnancy. But provider agreements don’t just task providers with determining that an ectopic pregnancy is unlikely, they’re required to have the ability to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy.

However, just having the ability to detect an ectopic pregnancy doesn’t protect a woman’s health. Doing the ultrasound scan is what protects her health. And ultrasounds can’t be done virtually – they require an in-person visit with a trained provider.

Ectopic pregnancy is a pretty big deal – it’s a leading cause of maternal mortality in the first trimester, and many women with ectopic pregnancies do not have clear risk factors. Virtual health screenings, weighing likelihoods, don’t cut it when the stakes are this high.

Online screening tools also rely on dating the pregnancy from the last menstrual period. Research found this method to be inaccurate 40% of the time. With clear restrictions on when the abortion pill can be used during pregnancy, getting it wrong 40% of the time is no small matter.

Pro-life OB/GYN Dr. Christina Francis believes this removal of in-person services “constitutes medical malpractice for the health of women.

Behind the ruse of caring for women’s health, the truth seems to be that abortion care is about protecting abortion, not women. Women’s health isn’t the priority.

“When abortion is offered by video call or a text, it is impossible to offer this much-needed assessment,” said Christa Brown, Senior Director of Medical Impact for Heartbeat International.

This hands-off approach isn’t just offered, though, it’s encouraged. This telehealth provider offers virtual abortion services with a telehealth appointment “only if you have medical questions.”  The clinic encourages women to go the “no-appointment” way by offering this advice in their video: “Pro-Tip: If you don’t have an appointment, your medication is sent and gets to you sooner.”

Comprehensive care is tossed aside for expediency. Just the pills, please. Even the pros advise it.

Flagrantly disregarding the requirements in the provider agreement, chemical abortion providers are even selling and mailing abortion pills for “future use” as an advance provision. Providers can’t possibly reliably assess the age and location of a pregnancy that doesn’t yet exist. That’s impossible.

And dangerous.

Dr. Brent Boles, Medical Director for the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network (APRN) agrees:

“In relaxing the restrictions on the use of mifepristone, the Food and Drug Administration has chosen to ignore the clear and present danger that chemical abortion poses for women,” Boles said. Further, “they have ignored the danger that an inaccurate estimate of gestational age or the failure to identify an ectopic pregnancy poses for women having a chemical abortion without an in-person evaluation.”

The paradox should be impossible to ignore.

The questions are numerous. Yet, I don’t hear abortion supporters asking them.

If, as abortion proponents assert, abortion is essential to women’s health, why are abortion providers bypassing pre-abortion medical services that would provide protections for women’s health? Why is anyone satisfied with less health care for women? Who is benefiting?

To be sure, it’s a financial loss for abortion providers when the ultrasound reveals that a woman doesn’t meet the requirement for the pill. Too far along in her pregnancy? The abortion pill isn’t FDA-approved for that pregnancy. Pregnancy not located in the uterus? The woman needs a different type of medical care, not an abortion. No heartbeat? That’s a miscarriage and that’s a different health concern.

Ultrasounds cost abortion providers in other ways, too. Ultrasounds provide women with a view inside their bodies – a view of the humanity growing inside them. When women see that the “clump of cells” is a living human, they often choose a different route. Any route that isn’t an abortion takes money out of the abortion providers’ pockets.

And here In the U.S., chemical abortions provided by virtual-only services are on the rise. According to Brown, so are trips to the hospital.

“Emergency departments around the country are already faced with a 400% increase in cases of women following a chemical abortion - typically with infection or hemorrhage,” Brown told Pregnancy Help News. “Without assessment or oversight during their abortions or following their abortions, more women will be harmed and potentially face an emergency medical crisis,” Brown says.

A 400% increase in emergency department visits ought to alarm anyone concerned about women’s health – whether you are pro-abortion or not.

Poised against this lack of real care, it becomes clear that pregnancy medical clinics – the deceitfully tagged “fake clinics” - are providing the real in-person healthcare services that abortion providers will not.

These medical services matter. They matter to the women who come into our PMCs, seeking information before an abortion, and finding on the ultrasound screen what is real: a living, moving baby. Not “nothing.” Very much someone.

They matter to the women who enter our clinics – before they begin an abortion - and find they have an ectopic pregnancy or an already deceased pregnancy. Their next stop is a medical care facility that can protect their health, not an abortion clinic.

They matter to the women who come to our clinics, sure they’re early in their pregnancies (well below 10 weeks along), only to find they are well into their 2nd trimesters. These women find they don’t even meet the requirements for the abortion pill. It matters – to informed consent - that women know what they are agreeing to if they begin the abortion process online.

For the two women in a telehealth study who asked about the abortion pill reversal (APR) – and were “advised that evidence-based reversal treatment does not exist” - a pre-abortion visit to one of our PMCs could’ve potentially saved their babies' lives.

Tweet This: Abortion “care” is more about getting pills into women’s hands – protecting the practice of abortion itself – than protecting the women.

In a PMC, they likely would’ve learned the truth that APR exists and has a success rate of nearly 70%. That’s a truth researchers denied these two women and their babies.

Nameless and faceless to you – but all of these women are real. Their bodies and souls are real. Their babies are real. They don’t deserve likelihoods. They deserve real medical services that can provide real care and protection.

Pregnancy medical clinics continue to provide these in-person services because we care about the woman and the baby. We’re clear about what we do. We always believe there’s room to care for (at least) two people in every pregnancy: the mom and the baby. Both lives have value and are worth protecting. Our medical and advocacy services reflect this regard for both lives.

Chemical abortion providers are clear, too. For decades they have honestly declared they will not protect babies’ lives. With the advent of telehealth services, abortion providers now expose the ruse of abortion as healthcare: they won’t protect women’s lives, either.

Editor's note: Heartbeat International manages the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network (APRN) and Pregnancy Help News.

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