When Congress passed the CARES Act, the largest economic aid bill in U.S. history, the legislation was widely criticized as slipping Democratic policy priorities and special interest giveaways under the mantle of coronavirus relief. With the ink barely dry, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pushing for “Phase Four,” another massive spending bill, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushes back against any rush to take advantage of this crisis to enact unrelated agenda items.
One special interest potentially excluded from CARES, to their outrage, was the abortion lobby. The bill contains vital pro-life protections to prevent its massive funding streams from underwriting abortion businesses. If the abortion lobby’s ultimate dream succeeds, however, brick-and-mortar facilities will become obsolete. The next frontier is the expansion, via telemedicine and the mail, of so-called “self-managed” abortion (their term) using dangerous drugs – a supremely ironic turn for a movement that wields the coat-hanger as a fearful symbol of the time before Roe v. Wade. Chemical abortions, already 30-50 percent of U.S. abortions, could skyrocket.
As millions of Americans find themselves under stay-home orders, Democratic state attorneys general, joined by their media allies, are pressuring the FDA to roll back safety regulations governing the abortion drug Mifeprex – rules developed and applied even under the Clinton and Obama administrations. Logical consistency is no object; abortion proponents argue it’s too dangerous to leave home, but not to take abortion drugs without medical supervision.
And while proponents point to the crisis of the moment, in reality, making abortion as ubiquitous as Tylenol has been on extremists’ agenda for years – part and parcel of efforts to rebrand abortion as essential health care, as the World Health Organization declared this month.
Within a week of FDA approval of Mifeprex in 2000, the abortion industry was already flouting safety standards on its use. More recently they have sued the FDA to eliminate patient protections while using any means possible to circumvent them. Aid Access, an activist group based in Europe, has illegally shipped thousands of abortion pills of foreign manufacture into the United States. Abortion groups are also using West African women as guinea pigs to test Mifeprex through 22 weeks of pregnancy, despite the evidence that up to 40 percent of chemical abortions at 15-20 weeks gestation require surgical completion for hemorrhage.
Most disturbing is the recruitment of girls as young as 10 for an ever-expanding “clinical trial” of mail delivery of Mifeprex – a de facto policy change on the ground, without any published demonstration of patient safety.
The advantages of chemical abortion to the abortion industry are obvious: reduced overhead and accountability. The risks to women’s health and safety, and to everyone else during a global pandemic, are profound. Chemical abortions result in four times as many adverse events as surgical abortions. As many as five to seven percent of women who undergo chemical abortions will require follow-up surgery and three percent could end up in the emergency room. Furthermore, Mifeprex and misoprostol can suppress immunity, increasing a patient’s vulnerability to deadly infection.
Chemical abortion brings abortion home in the most traumatic sense. Women become simultaneously the patient and the abortionist. Developing children, some on the cusp of viability, will be delivered into toilets and onto bathroom floors. Disgruntled boyfriends, abusers, and traffickers will find it easier to get rid of inconvenient pregnancies regardless of the mother’s wishes. If coronavirus-imposed isolation raises domestic violence and mental health concerns, the prospect of unregulated chemical abortion should raise them all the more.
The radical threat of expanded chemical abortion calls for the most innovative response the pro-life movement can muster, focusing new efforts on social action and information. Women must be warned about the reality of what it entails, versus abortion lobby spin. Many will still choose it, but many will regret that choice. Our response must empower women, and all those who observe these heartbreaking scenes. Women must hear the truth and know that, in times of crisis, the abortion industry seeks to profit from their pain, while the pro-life movement offers them hope.
Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List. Charles A. “Chuck” Donovan is president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute.