“Complications are likely underreported in the U.S., as many are treated in hospital emergency rooms where physicians may not know about the abortion or not code it as such in medical records,” the document reads.
Skop agreed with that characterization, telling CNA that adverse effects from chemical abortions are more common than adverse effects from surgical abortions, but that the number is likely higher than reported: It’s “very difficult … to know how many complications” there are,” she said.
“Most abortions are paid for privately, women are often ashamed or embarrassed and don’t want to talk about their abortion,” Skop added.
FDA deregulation creates more concerns
The bishops further warned about the lack of safeguards through deregulation. The document expresses concern that the FDA regulations do not require in-person doctor visits, allow the drug to be delivered through the mail, and permit access to minors. They caution that the potential adverse effects of this deregulation were never properly studied.
“The FDA also set no age restrictions, despite the absence of a study establishing the drugs’ safety for minor girls — and it failed to incorporate safeguards used in the clinical trial submitted to justify FDA approval, such as the requirement for an ultrasound exam to confirm gestational age and detect a dangerous ectopic pregnancy,” the document noted.
Dr. Robin Pierucci, a neonatologist and co-chair of the pro-life committee at the American College of Pediatricians, told CNA that the lack of safeguards has left “women with unplanned pregnancies … medically and legally abandoned.”
“Because the FDA removed both the mechanism for reporting side effects as well as an in-person medical examination prior to taking mifepristone, women’s health has been compromised,” Pierucci said. “Without supervision and an ultrasound, there is no way to diagnose ectopic pregnancies (mifepristone and an ectopic pregnancy have similar symptoms), the pregnancy may be more advanced than thought (increasing the risk of complications), and sexually transmitted infections will be missed. Without supervision, severe bleeding can be life-threatening or become serious due to prolonged bleeding for weeks. Afterward, an infection with or without issues from an incomplete abortion can be lethal.”
Skop said the deregulation proves that the pro-abortion movement will “prioritize the death of the unborn child over the health and safety of the mother” and that “if the women are injured, they’re collateral damage” to them.
“We’re seeing some very evil ideology in our country and in our world today,” Skop said.
The current status
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The United States Supreme Court agreed to hear the lawsuit challenging the approval of the abortion drug and the subsequent deregulations. The bishops noted that the outcome could have a major effect on abortion throughout the country, noting that about half of all abortions performed in the United States are chemical abortions.
“Many states have responded by enacting laws against abortion, which could be explicitly overturned or rendered ineffectual by a federal mandate to allow delivery of abortion drugs through the U.S. postal service,” the document notes. “This case will help determine whether abortion is promoted throughout the country as a routine form of ‘medication.’”