Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Free Speech


Judge upholds SF ordinance’s blatant attack on local women-helping centers

By Dave Andrusko
Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong
Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong
As we were wrapping up Tuesday’s edition of National Right to Life News Today, I ran across a story in the San Francisco Chronicle explaining that U.S. District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong of Oakland had upheld the “Pregnancy Information Disclosure and Protection Ordinance.” Since I just found a copy of Judge Armstrong’s decision and have not had a chance to read it, a detailed story will have to wait until Wednesday. (For background, see here.)

This blatant infringement of free speech was passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in October 2011 and covers only two pregnancy centers–Alpha Pregnancy Center and the much larger First Resort. It purports to protect women “seeking information regarding options to terminate a pregnancy” from receiving “untrue or misleading” information. The Ordinance was signed into law by Mayor Ed Lee in November 2011.

First Resort’s lawsuit fairly steamed with indignation at what it asserts is a blatant example of viewpoint discrimination intended to “chill” First Resort’s right to free speech–an ordinance bereft of legislative findings or underlying evidence to support the claim that First Resort is misleading women or providing them with false evidence.
More tomorrow.
Source: NRLC News

Abortion Pill and Death for Mom


Teenager in India dies after being forced to take abortion pill

By Dave Andrusko
Kanpur-mapThe Times of India is reporting that a teenage girl died after being forced to consume an abortifacient by a man who had allegedly sexually exploited her “several times.”

Reporting from Kanpur, Faiz Rahman Siddiqui wrote that police identified the man as Monu, a local resident. According to the story, Monu has fled and authorities “are conducting raids at his possible hideouts to arrest him,” according to Officer Anurag.

Siddiqui quoted an unnamed police official at length:
When Monu learnt that the girl had become pregnant, he allegedly started forcing her to undergo an abortion. On Friday, Monu compelled her to consume a pill that would cause an abortion. Soon after consuming the pill, the girl’s condition deteriorated and she collapsed. Monu abandoned her at the spot and fled. Later, she was spotted by locals who informed her parents, who rushed her to a nearby Community Health Centre from where she was later referred to Lala Lajpat Rai hospital. She died in the hospital on Sunday night during treatment,” said the police official. Her body has been sent for postmortem.

Siddiqui also quoted the girl’s father who said, “Monu had raped my daughter several times and forced her to consume [an] abortion pill. He must be severely punished for causing [the] death of my daughter.” (What exactly the girl consumed was not specified other than an “abortion pill.”)
Siddiqui reported that police have registered a case against Monu under sections 313 (forcible abortion) and 314 (causing death with abortion).

Source: NRLC News

Sex Selection Abortion


MPs vote down amendment to clarify that sex-selective abortions illegal

By Dave Andrusko
MP Fiona Bruce
MP Fiona Bruce

That it was expected did not make last night’s 292 to 201 defeat of an amendment to make clear that sex-selection abortions are not legal under England’s 1967 Abortion Act any the less bitter a pill to swallow.
The language of the amendment to Section 5 of the Serious Crime Bill read, “Nothing in section 1 of the Abortion Act 1967 is to be interpreted as allowing a pregnancy to be terminated on the grounds of the sex of the unborn child.” You would think that all feminist groups and groups dedicated to preventing violence against women would be on board.
But you would be wrong.

The headline on a piece written by the associate editor for the Catholic Herald seemingly sums it up, at least for now: “The abortion industry has an iron grip on Parliament.

The list of spurious objections boggles the mind. For example, that it would get in the way of aborting children who are prenatally diagnosed with a disease that is sex-specific to girls. (Unfortunately, were the amendment law, it would have had no impact on that tragedy.)
Or that the amendment “criminalizes women.” In fact, as Dominic Grieve MP, the former Attorney General wrote, “The truth is that the amendment does not even apply to women. Rather, it relates to those who apply the grounds of the 1967 Abortion Act – a privilege granted only to doctors.”
Or that, as the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), a leading provider of abortions, wrote in a briefing, the amendment would supposedly racially discriminate against women from some South Asian communities, in which for cultural reasons sons are often preferred to daughters.
Or that if physicians were required to find out if a woman is aborting (her girl baby) because she is being coerced into doing so, it would mean that the father would abuse the mother to force a miscarriage—that is, one form of coercion would replace another. (Think of where THAT line of logic takes you.)
MP Fiona Bruce, who introduced the amendment on behalf of a cross-party group that included a number of other female MPs, responded with a combination of indignity and anger:
“Sex-selective abortion does not solve domestic abuse. Allowing sex-selective abortion would not protect women but would condone and exacerbate such abuse.
“It is unconscionable to provide a woman with a sex-selective abortion for her then to return to an abusive partner.
She added

“It is utterly wrong to claim women will suffer domestic abuse unless they are able to abort on the grounds of gender – indeed the opposite is the case – unless we support women by opposing this kind of dreadful abuse it will simply continue.”
But the arrows were all pointing in the wrong direction as Monday’s vote approached. Prime Minister David Cameron had voiced his opposition all along, offering the excuse, “I support the status quo whereby abortion on gender grounds is not legal, it is not allowed under our arrangements.”
Then on Monday, MPs received an email from The Trades Union Congress opposing the amendment, which parroted BPAS’s arguments.
During the debate Bruce said,

“This vote showed what we all know but nobody wants to admit. The Abortion Act, which was drafted to permit abortion in serious circumstances, is broken beyond repair.
“Parliamentarians never imagined that women would try to abort for gender in 1967. But this attempt to update it to ensure that the law is clear has been stamped upon by Labour Party whipping. Only women who suffer with sex-selective abortion lose as a result of this vote.”

Jeena International campaigns against sex-selective abortions. According to the Telegraph, its director, Rani Bilkhu, said the outcome of the vote was a “disgrace.”
“This is an insult to the women we work with who have suffered under the burden of sex-selective abortion and have said they want clarity in the law,” she said.
“To think that a few Westminster bubble MPs could scupper [wreck] such an important vote mocks the very fabric of British democracy. It is a disgrace.”

Source: NRLC News

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Baby is A Baby


Baby born with amniotic sac intact, placenta and umbilical cord tucked inside

By Dave Andrusko
babyinsackOver the years—indeed over the decades—pro-abortionists have offered up painfully arcane explanations to convince the public that the unborn does not deserve legal protection at [fill in the blank]. Many/most insist that abortion ought to be legal up until birth—and, for some, beyond, depending on the parent[s] whim and/or the child’s “imperfections.”

It’s the tiresome “dependency” argument, which is why the pro-death set slides through the intersection (birth), finding no logical way to apply the brakes (at infanticide).
I thought of what they might say when I read about 10 week-old Silas Phillips who was delivered at 26 weeks via emergency caesarean section. What made this birth truly amazing is that Silas was still in the amniotic sac—his “water bag”—with the placenta and umbilical cord still tucked inside. According to CNN

“It was a moment that really did, even though it’s a cliché: we caught our breath. It really felt like a moment of awe,” said Dr. William Binder, a neonatologist at Cedars Sinai Medical Center who helped deliver Silas. …

Dr. Binder snapped the photo with his cell phone before going to work on Silas, born a full three months early.
“It felt like slow-motion but really, realistically, probably about 10 seconds that we had to sort of quickly pause and be able to do this, because at the same time, we want to get the baby out of that sac, start helping the baby to begin breathing,” he said.

“It was definitely like a clear film where you could definitely make out his head and his hair,” said mom Chelsea Phillips, who first saw the picture hours later.
“He was kind of in a fetal position and you could see like his arms and his legs curled up. It was actually really cool to see. And when I heard that was actually really rare I was like ‘oh my gosh, you’re a special little baby.”

CNN reports that Silas’ doctors say the baby is doing well and should be headed home in about a month. That would be right around his due date!
Tip of the hat to

Source: NRLC News

Early Pro- Life Heroes


Pro-Life Congress in Japan

Editor’s note. Dr. Jack Willke, who was president of National Right to Life for ten years, passed away last Friday. We have three posts today in honor of Jack, who along with his wife Barbara, were the First Couple of the Pro-Life Movement. (See also here and here.)
Dr. Willke presenting a copy of his book, "Abortion: Questions and Answers" to Pope John Paul II.
Dr. Willke presenting a copy of his book, “Abortion: Questions and Answers” to Pope John Paul II.

The following is Dr. Willke’s May 21, 1991, column for National Right to Life News, his last written as NRLC President. I could have chosen any of dozens of columns but this one emphasizes a much under-appreciated part of Jack’s and Barbara’s lives as pro-life pioneers: they carried the message worldwide. Indeed, Jack was the founder of the International Right to Life Federation.
We had high hopes for the second world Congress for Life in Tokyo, Japan, April 25-27. As events transpired, things turned out even better than anticipated.
Three years ago we had a major international congress in Southeast Asia, in Manila. This was to be our first in northeast Asia. We had made preparations for it a year earlier in Oslo, Norway, and were looking forward to finalization of a major International Declaration on the Rights of the Unborn Child.

After an 11 1/2 –hour flight across the Pacific, my wife, Barbara, and I were met at Tokyo airport by Pastor Kenzo Tsujioka, a prominent Evangelical minister and director of Pro-Life Japan.
The next day we were pleased to meet with Mr. Takayuki Shirai, who had shepherded the publishing of our book Abortion Questions and Answers in a Japanese edition. We were pleased and proud to accept copies of it.

Barbara and I began the three-day conference, sponsored by the International Right to Life Federation and Japanese pro-life and pro-family groups, with a slide presentation, demonstrating how to teach the basics and answer the questions. There were about 40 guests from overseas representing 24 different nations. The other half of the workshop participants came from various areas throughout Japan.

Four different Japanese pro-life groups reported on their activities, as did most of the nations represented. Representatives came from Italy, Ireland, Australia, Bangladesh, Chile, Columbia, Egypt, England, France, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Nepal, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, The Philippines, Thailand, Uruguay, Japan and the U.S. as usual a great deal of fruitful interchange occurred in the hallways and during our pleasant mealtimes.
We did finalize the Declaration on the Rights of the Unborn Child. This was signed by all of the delegates present, and agreed to unanimously. The final session came on a Saturday afternoon. It was the big one. Seven hundred and fifty people attended. I was honored to be able to present to Dr. Noboru Kikuta, a Japanese gynecologist, the second annual Award for Life, given by the International Right to Life Federation. Suffering from advanced cancer, Dr. Kikuta, nevertheless, came to the meeting to accept the honor. His singular achievement was to stimulate reform of adoption laws in the nation of Japan.
We were also honored by a visit from Cardinal Lopez Trujillo, newly appointed head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission on the Family, who made a special trip from Rome to be with us.
Before leaving the next day for Korea we were able to visit a major Buddhist Temple in Tokyo to see the Mizuko Kuyo Memorials for aborted babies. We had heard much about these small stone idols representing the little ones that Japanese mothers have aborted. Even so, it was amazing – almost a shock – to confront them.
They were all identical. They stood in unending rows. Every one wore a little bonnet, some like a maid’s dustcap, most of them colorful crocheted caps tied under the chin. In front of each baby idol was a small vase, some containing fresh flowers.

Most of the babies wore bibs. In front of each was a child’s plastic pinwheel, spinning in the breeze. We were told that these were there “to keep the babies happy.” On the back of the idols were written brief messages. In a nearby temple enclosure hung large numbers of small wooden messages by the parents to their lost child. We had a number of them translated. Here are a few.
· “I did it alone. I should have thought of you.”

· “Are you happy? Please understand Papa and Mama want you to forgive us.”
· “It is already two years and we will never forget you.”
· “Sorry we had to do this. Please excuse us.”
· “We visit you every month. Please wait for us. Be at peace.”
· “To ‘Mato,’ Our Baby: We should have thought more about you. We will never forget you.”
· “We two greet you, our child. Next time we will prepare better. Please Forgive us.”
It costs $500.00 to rent such a little stone idol, and then $50.00 yearly maintenance. In spite of this, our guide estimated that there were more than 20,000 such in the area.

In an adjoining opened-roof, small worship site was a statue of a maternal figure. Around her neck was a string with a baby pacifier hanging in the front. A little spring bubbled up and women and men would come to light an incense stick, then scoop some water and pour it over the head of this maternal idol. Their faces were all so sober. One woman was crying.
Abortion is extremely common in Japan. It is the prime method of birth control. Overwhelmingly, the Japanese people either are Buddhists or Taoists or have no religion. The Christian population is about 1%. This was a Buddhist Temple. Clearly, feelings of regret and grief for abortions spring eternal in the parents’ breasts, no matter what their religious beliefs are.

As a person reasonably aware of the dynamics of post-abortion syndrome, I viewed this activity as a healthy one. The woman or couple have admitted their role in the killing of their own offspring, and now this affords an outlet for some healthy grieving.

Overall, the international congress in Japan was clearly a rousing success. Until this time there has been only sporadic pro-life activity in Japan. We brought with us Japanese translations of two color brochures, “Life or Death” and “Did You Know,” as well as Japanese translations of our slide set. Added to this is now our book Abortion Questions and Answers and they are making a video. There is now available in the Japanese language the basic tools necessary to spark a major movement. We were very pleased with the interfaith cooperation between Buddhists, those of no faith, Evangelicals, and Catholics.

As most of you know, a Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of 2.1 babies per woman, averaged through her reproductive lifespan, is the number of babies needed to maintain a stable population. Japan’s TFR this year is 1.57. Because their birth rate is way under replacement level, the nation is beginning to age and the number of young people is diminishing rapidly. The members of the Diet (their Parliament) are becoming extremely worried about this, and the negative economic impact it will have on their nation.

Clearly, because of this budding demographic disaster, the nation is ready if only for that reason, to take a long look at what is needed to increase their birth rate. The fact of limiting abortion is only too obvious. Our visit and our World congress which received nationwide publicity, may well be catalysts for the blossoming of a major pro-life movement in Japan.
From there we went to South Korea and Taiwan.
Source: NRLC News

Dismemberment Abortion


Pro-abortionists in deep denial about Dismemberment Abortion

By Andrew Bair

The pro-abortion movement is in a predicament. They are compelled to fight a ban on dismemberment abortions because it challenges their abortion-without-limits ideology. But they know they cannot actually talk about dismemberment abortions. Putting the gruesome reality of unborn babies being torn limb from limb in front of the public would be highly detrimental to their cause.

On Friday, the Kansas Senate passed the “Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act” by a 31-9 vote. As Kansans for Life Legislative Director Kathy Ostrowski wrote, only two pro-abortion lawmakers rose to speak against the bill. Neither of their arguments directly addressed what happens to the unborn child.

Pro-abortion Sen. David Haley complained about the use of the term “dismemberment.” He preferred to describe tearing apart the tiny bodies of living unborn babies as “healthcare.”
Ostrowski noted, “It was clearly demonstrated in the Kansas Senate, that the pro-abortion side has no substantive defense for the barbaric abortion procedure of dismembering living, tiny unborn babies with sharp metal tools.”

Even the abortion textbook published by the National Abortion Federation is afraid to show the gruesome nature of dismemberment abortions. The diagram in the abortion manual does not even show an unborn child!
NAF Abortion Diagram
Below is a medical diagram that gives a more accurate depiction of what happens to an unborn baby during a dismemberment abortion.
In response to the dismemberment abortion ban, the media is revisiting its playbook from the debate over partial-birth abortions. A flurry of headlines accused supporters of the legislation of trying to mislead the public with “grisly language.”

Infamous late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart, however, did not mince words when he described the “procedure” while under oath in the 2000 Stenberg v. Carhart case.
“My normal course would be to dismember that appendage and then go back and try to take the fetus out whether foot or skull first, whatever end I can get to first….Just pulling and rotation, grasping the portion that you can get hold of which would be usually somewhere up the shaft of the exposed portion of the fetus …”
The further question was asked, “In that situation, when you pull on the arm and remove it, is the fetus still alive?”

Carhart answered, “‘Yes.’ …I know that the fetus is alive during the process most of the time because I can see fetal heartbeat on the ultrasound.”

Carhart is not the only abortionist to candidly depict dismemberment abortions. (Read the descriptions of others here.) In fact, a former abortionist testified in the Kansas Senate Health Committee in support of the legislation.
Sen. Garrett Love, the bill’s lead sponsor, began the formal discussion on the Senate floor by drawing attention to the former abortionist’s testimony in which he described “tearing the arms, legs, and other body parts off until a baby dies.”

“Hearing the description made myself and many other members of the committee feel sick [especially] when learning nearly 600 such abortions occur each year in Kansas,” stated Sen. Love.
The pro-abortion movement is afraid that the public at large will react in the same way that Sen. Love did when informed about the barbaric practice of dismemberment abortions. It’s up to the pro-life community to bring this human rights abuse to the forefront and persuade others that unborn children deserve to be protected from violent dismemberment.
Source: NRLC News

Media and Abortion


Abortion one of her “best decisions”? Read more carefully

By Dave Andrusko
Renee Bracey Sherman
Renee Bracey Sherman

Writing at the Huffington Post, Alanna Vagianos could not be prouder that Renee Bracey Sherman is “happy” that Sherman had an abortion when she was 19. The operative paragraph in Vagianos’ glowing tribute is

The best part of this video — besides that it shows she made the best decision for herself at the time — is that it reveals so much about Sherman’s personality, family and upbringing, showing that she’s so much more than her choice to have an abortion.
So, what is Sherman’s story, as told in her video produced for Fusion’s #NoFilter series? Not what Vagianos glorifies, that’s for sure.

The video is short, 2 minute, 6 second long, so Sherman doesn’t waste words. It sounds as if she had an absolutely idyllic childhood. She tells us that she loves cats– “My first and foremost identity,” she says, jokingly,” is a “cat lady”—and was raised by parents that “I am equal to my brothers and that I should not be treated differently because I am a girl.”
That, I guess, is suppose to help explain what comes next.

“I realized when I was pregnant I did not wish to continue the pregnancy. I simply wasn’t ready.”
What does that mean? Her youth? More likely the real explanation come next.
“I was afraid to tell my family, I wanted to pretend like I wasn’t one of those girls. I didn’t want to fall into society’s statistics and stereotypes and I didn’t want to be a disappointment to my parents.”

She didn’t want to be a “disappointment to my parents.”
Sherman, who calls herself a “reproductive justice and storytelling activist,” says that when she called home, they cried and that her mom “felt bad she couldn’t have been at the clinic” to support her. But that’s okay.

Mom, you gave me all of the tools that I needed to make the best decision for me…I haven’t once regretted it. It allowed me to change paths. It was one of the best decisions of my life and I’m happy.
Let me make two quick points. The video is filled with cherished pictures of Sherman’s own childhood—just before she tells us “and I’m happy” and immediately after. I’m not sure what to make of this.

She was obviously loved as a child, perhaps even spoiled, and now her own child will never ice skate, play soccer, play the piano, have her picture taken with her grandmother, be held aloft, or be the subject of a thousand photos.

The other thing is, as you see in the first quote, Sherman is, we’re told, ”so much more than her choice to have an abortion.” Her abortion, while the end of the child’s life, is just a sliver of Sherman’s life, Vagianos reassures us.
Message? Don’t obsess, you pro-life types, over Sherman’s abortion. She’s got over it—indeed, she is “happy”—so why make a big deal of it?

Because when Sherman “changed paths,” she also ended her child’s brief journey.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Barbara and Jack Wilke


RIP: Dr. Jack Willke

By Dave Andrusko
Dr. and Mrs. John Willke
Dr. and Mrs. John Willke

I was driving through a snowstorm today when I learned that Dr. Jack Willke, a towering figure in the formation and growth of the Pro-Life Movement, had died. I checked several sources to be sure the sad news was true. How could it be true? Jack, although 89, was like the Rock of Gibraltar, only sturdier.

Along with Barbara, his wife of seemingly forever, Jack provided the Movement with some of its earliest and most persuasive educational materials. Barb, who was also instrumental in the founding of Cincinnati Right to Life, passed away in April 2013.

He was president of NRLC for almost the entire decade of the 1980s and was pivotal in the expansion of the Washington office of the nation’s preeminent grassroots pro-life organization. I first met Jack in the summer of 1981 when I interviewed for the job of editor of National Right to Life News.
But in a sense, like countless others, I already “knew” Jack. For those of us whose involvement extends back to the early days, none of us went to any speaking engagement without “the Willke slides.” And had any of us learned the ABCs of abortion without having devoured the Willkes’ “Handbook on Abortion”?

During the ten years as NRLC President (1980-1983 and 1984-1991), he appeared on countless radio and television programs and went abroad many, many times as a good will ambassador for our Movement.

When NRLC presented “The Henry Hyde Award for Lifetime Achievement” to the Willkes, we published a short summary of what the Godfather and Godmother of our Movement accomplished in the NRLC Convention Yearbook: co-authoring 12 books on abortion and human sexuality; speaking in 64 different countries; and creating audio and visual materials used around the world and translated into 30 languages on five continents.

Paula Westwood, executive director of the Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati, beautifully encapsulated Jack’s contribution in a statement release following Jack’s death on Friday.
“Dr. Willke was the leading statesman addressing the second civil rights struggle of our nation. He met with presidents and popes and crossed the globe, but his passion was always to ensure the right to life for helpless unborn children and other vulnerable people.”

Thank you, Jack and Barbara, for all you did. Your legacy will live on forever.
Source: NRLC News

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Hero


R.I.P. Brother Paul O’Donnell ~ Taken too Soon

By Jacki Ragan,
BrotherPaulOne of the sweetest, kindest men I have ever known passed away today. I can’t imagine that it was his time but God knows these things, not me. Brother Paul was only 55 years old. He was the Superior at the Franciscan Brothers of Peace, a stalwart advocate for life throughout its spectrum, and he was my friend – for well over 25 years. He was also one of my heroes.

Brother Paul was a founder of the Pro-Life Action Ministries and served with them still. He was a board member of the Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network, and a valiant spokesperson for life.
If someone was in need, any need, he was there. He was always there for the babies– front and center, from the time he was a teenager. Always. When Terri Schindler Schiavo was being starved and dehydrated to death, ten years ago next month, he was there. He was there for Terri. He was there for the family, helping hold them together. And his presence at their side brought great comfort to all of us who knew him because we knew that if Brother Paul was on the scene, things would be as okay as they possibly could in such a situation.

More recently, Brother Paul was there for baby Joseph Maarachli and his family. He was there for Jahi McMath and her family. His ability to advocate for the medically vulnerable started decades ago when he was there to fight for and care for Brother Michael Gaworski, fbp, the founder of the Franciscan Brothers of Peace, and to save and protect him from the death movement and its care-rationing and euthanasia agenda. Brother Paul, himself, said it was because of Brother Michael that the Franciscan Brothers of Peace were on the forefront of the battle to save the life of Terri. Out of that tragedy, this good and gentle man learned to be the anchor others would need in similar times of need.

He would travel far and wide to spread the message of life. From the National Right to Life Conventions, to the Life and Hope Network, to Youth Camps — any gathering where he could speak on the life issues, he was there. One of our camp leaders referred to him as her “superhero in a habit.” And that fits.

What an honor and privilege it was to see him in action, taking a stand for the truth…for life.
We chatted on the phone often and I will miss hearing his voice. I will miss him at this year’s convention. I will miss him every day.

For now, I will picture him holding baby Joseph, hugging on Bob Schindler and Terri Schindler Schiavo, Brother Michael, and reuniting with his parents. Today, Heaven is a little more crowded, but we can be very certain that the words “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” are reverberating throughout heaven and, as Congressman Henry Hyde so eloquently spoke decades ago, “ a chorus of voices never before heard in this world” will also be joining in that welcome.
We will miss you, our very dear brother and friend, but we will see you again. Until then, we will do everything we can to be worthy of the lessons you taught us about never saying “no” when there is a life to be saved.Source: NRLC News

Friday, February 20, 2015

Planned Parenthood -Follow Money


Planned Parenthood Study Supports Their Profitable Chemical Abortion Protocol

By Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., NRL Director of Education & Research
Editor’s note. This appeared on in the current digital edition of National Right to Life News, “the pro-life newspaper of record.” You can read this story and the issue in its entirety at Please pass this and other stories along using your social networks.
pill_bottle_and_pillsreOne of Planned Parenthood large affiliates has just published a study that they assert shows that the abortion drugs mifepristone (RU-486) and misoprostol can be used safely and effectively following a different protocol than the one laid out by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

No real surprise there – Planned Parenthood has a lot of money and its reputation riding on the outcome. But facts are stubborn things. The data show that risks still remain, that follow up is lax, and that they really don’t know what happened to a lot of their patients, despite putting a lot of women through a whole lot of misery.

A different protocol

The study, “Efficacy and safety of medical abortion using mifepristone and buccal misoprostol through 63 days” was published online January 14, 2105, and is slated to appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Contraception.
Two of the three authors are from Planned Parenthood’s Los Angeles affiliate. The patients from the study were drawn from “Our large network of urban healthcare centers in the Los Angeles, California area, [which] includes 19 health centers providing approximately 15,000 abortions a year, of which about 30% are medical abortions.”
The study followed 13,373 women who came in for abortions between April 1, 2008, and May 31, 2011. The chemical abortion regimen consisted of 200 milligrams of mifepristone (RU-486) followed by an at-home dose of 800 micrograms of misoprostol taken bucally (under the cheek or gum) 24-28 hours after the mifepristone.

Two immediate contrasts. The FDA protocol involved 600 milligrams of mifepristone followed by 400 micrograms of misoprostol taken orally at a return visit to the clinic two days after the first.
And while the FDA protocol also limited use to the first 49 days after a woman’s last menstrual period (LMP), Planned Parenthood aborted women who were as many as 63 days LMP.
The authors concluded that their study reinforced the safety and efficacy of their regimen.
Why do they want to change the regimen?

Before getting into the data, let us look for a moment at why Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry have such a problem with the FDA protocol.
The official focus is allegedly on increased safety and efficacy (for the woman). However the changes just happen to have the fortuitous side effect of making things easier and much more profitable for the abortion industry. Here’s how.

Mifepristone sells for about a $90 a pill, while generic misoprostol can be purchased for less than a dollar a pill. By reducing the dose of mifepristone from the FDA’s recommended three pills to one, and doubling the dose of the cheaper misoprostol, as Planned Parenthood has done in this “study,” there’s more money to be made.

Allowing women to take the second drug (misoprostol) at home rather than return to the clinic saves the clinic the space and time of additional appointments so that they can set that aside for other customers.
Likewise, extending the cutoff date by two weeks from 49 days to 63 days LMP means a bigger pool of customers.
Whether women’s chemical abortions supposedly get safer or not, take note that industry leaders like Planned Parenthood stand to gain more customers and make more money with these changes.

Study Results

As mentioned earlier, Planned Parenthood looked at the outcomes for 13,373 chemical abortion patients over a five year period. Of this number, the authors claim that 13,066, or 97.7%, were “successful.”
Seventy patients had an “aspiration for ongoing pregnancy” and 237 had “aspiration for symptoms.” There were just two cases of infections among the group and four cases requiring transfusions.
This was supposed to offer an improvement over results from the study the FDA used to justify its protocol when it approved mifepristone in September of 2000. Using the results of an April 30, 1998, study from the New England Journal of Medicine, that protocol showed diminishing “success” rates with time: 92% at 49 days LMP, 83% at 56 days LMP, and 77% at 63 days LMP. This decreased “efficacy” prompted the FDA to limit use of the drug to 49 days.

The authors here argue that by comparison, this demonstrates that their method is more effective and can be used later than the FDA limit.

“This study reinforces the safety and efficacy of the regimen for medical abortion … through 63 days estimated gestational age, and contributes to the existing evidence against restrictions requiring use of the FDA-approved regimen in the United States,” the report’s authors wrote.
Let’s see if that’s true.

Measuring “Efficacy”

The authors say that “The primary outcome of interest was successful abortion,” and the abortion was deemed “successful” if there was “expulsion of the pregnancy without the need for aspiration.”
A few things worth noting here. Abortion, not patient comfort or safety, was the criteria for success. If a woman aborted, but suffered a major injury, as long as she did not have an “aspiration,” it would, by this standard, be successful.
Also, “success” rates may have been, in some cases, boosted by extra doses of misoprostol.
While the study used by the FDA tallied “success” or failure after a single course of the drugs and an assessment at the end of two weeks, the Planned Parenthood study “allowed for repeat doses of misoprostol for patients who had an incomplete abortion.” This means what would have been counted as a “failure” in the original study could have been listed as a “success” in the latest from Planned Parenthood. This would inflate the study’s “success” rate.
The precise number receiving this extra dose is unclear, though 87 in a subgroup of about half 7,335) did receive a repeat of misoprostol. Without this modification, efficacy rates would have been lower.
A different process?
Some may argue that modification of the protocol doesn’t matter as long as efficacy was increased. However when misoprostol becomes the primary drug, this moves towards becoming a different procedure entirely.
And this does matter. Misoprostol, developed and FDA approved as an anti-ulcer drug, has been found to function as a stand-alone abortifacient. But it has never been tested by the manufacturer or approved by the FDA for that purpose. That means that there is no standard protocol or any official guidelines about contraindications, over dosages, or side effects.
Lacking government approval, the drug is sold on the black market in the U.S. and elsewhere, but those who use it may have limited information on its risks for mother and child. Off-label use in Brazil, for example, has been associated with the birth of children with hydrocephaly, partial facial paralysis, clubfeet, or fused or missing fingers and toes. A February 2007 report from Obstetrics & Gynecology tells of a death associated with what appeared to be a misoprostol overdose during an attempted abortion in Portugal.
Even with the repeated doses of misoprostol, there was still a drop-off in efficacy the farther along the pregnancy. It was not as dramatic as in the study from the U.S. trials of the drug, but it was clear nonetheless. Measured in terms of requiring “aspiration for ongoing pregnancy” or “aspiration for symptoms,” rates for women 57-63 days LMP (4.12%) were more than twice what they were for women 43-49 days (1.7%), the FDA’s original limit.

Counting Complications

The criteria the study uses to measure significant complications is whether or not the woman was hospitalized, reporting those only in situations where there was an infection or a transfusion was required. By this measure, there were two patients with infections and four who needed transfusions.
Four otherwise healthy women having to go to the hospital for transfusions simply after taking a drug is a big deal in itself. But it isn’t clear that these were the only ones dealing with excessive bleeding.
Remember that 237 women taking the drugs ended up having “aspiration for symptoms.” The examples of symptoms given are “pain or bleeding.” That would make bleeding a bigger issue.
Lower rates of infection may be due to an addition of a prophylactic antibiotic to the protocol, but this may come at a price. The FDA says on its “Postmarket Drug Safety Information for Patients and Providers” webpage that the “FDA does not have sufficient information to recommend the use of prophylactic antibiotics for women having a medical abortion… Prophylactic antibiotic use carries its own risk of serious adverse events such as severe or fatal allergic reactions. Also, prophylactic use of antibiotics can stimulate the growth of ‘superbugs,’ bacteria resistant to everyday antibiotics.”
The published data does not reveal whether this means there were no further instances of infection, excessive bleeding, no ectopic pregnancies, no episodes of diarrhea, vomiting (that were themselves serious enough in other trials to warrant some hospitalizations), or other significant adverse events.
This of course, tells us nothing about the outcome for the 2,517 chemical abortion patients of whom Planned Parenthood lost track.
Missing Patients
The original number of chemical abortion patients was not 13,373, but 15,890. This means that there were 2,517 patients (15.8%) missing from the data set, who were excluded from the analysis.
Most of these were patients who never returned for their follow up visits (2,470), but there were also 20 excluded for missing data on gestational age. Twenty-seven were left off because they changed their minds and did not complete the chemical abortion process
Some of those 27 who changed their minds may have opted for a surgical abortion or were past the gestational limit. But others simply “began the regimen but did not take all of the medications.” The authors do not seem to want to admit that some women may have changed their minds about aborting entirely, hoping their babies would service.

Hasty Conclusions

The researchers from Planned Parenthood look at these study results and conclude that “This study adds to the growing literature supporting provision of medical abortions using evidence-based regimens, and supports the conclusion that legislative efforts to restrict medical abortion to the FDA regimen are based on political goals to restrict abortions services, not efficacy or patient safety.”
While on paper, they are reporting higher efficacy and safety rates, high numbers of missing patients from this study (and from similar ones) make one wonder if these are legitimate conclusions. Women with serious problems may have simply skipped the clinic and gone on to the emergency room, where they may or may not have told the attending physician they had taken the abortion drugs. Other women may have changed their minds once the abortion did not occur, deciding to give birth.
In any case, even in this self-serving study, the risk of failure and safety issues still remain, as does the physical and psychological ordeal of every chemical abortion. A baby still dies, a mother still goes through great pain and agony, and an abortion clinic figures out how to make more money out of the whole deal.

Source: NRLC News