A chemical abortion is a two-step process that involves the ingestion of two drugs: mifepristone and misoprostol. The first drug, mifepristone, effectively starves the unborn baby by blocking the effects of the hormone progesterone. The second drug, misoprostol, is taken up to two days later and induces labor.
Backers of abortion pill reversal say the abortion can be reversed after a woman takes mifepristone but before she takes misoprostol, though this must be done quickly.
Dr. George Delgado, M.D., appears to have been the author of the first study involving seven women. Delgado, a pro-life California doctor, has been a leader in medical interventions to reverse the effects of the abortion pill regimen.
He and several other researchers wrote another analysis of abortion pill reversal in the journal Issues in Law and Medicine in April 2018.
In observations of 754 patients who sought abortion pill reversal before taking the second drug, the researchers said that intramuscular progesterone had a reversal rate of 64% and high dose oral progesterone had a reversal rate of 68%.
"There was no apparent increased risk of birth defects," the abstract said.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which tends to oppose abortion regulations, has criticized the scientific claims behind abortion pill reversal.
Its 2015 position paper on the Arizona legislation noted that pregnancy will continue in 30-50% of women who take mifepristone alone and do not take misoprostol, the National Catholic Register has reported.
"Available research seems to indicate that in the rare situation where a woman takes mifepristone and then changes her mind, doing nothing and waiting to see what happens is just as effective as intervening with a course of progesterone," the OB/GYN group said.
The methods behind Delgado's more recent study have also come under criticism, including allegations that some women were dropped out of the study to inflate the success rate, Los Angeles Magazine reported in March 2019.
The Abortion Pill Rescue Network, which Delgado serves as a medical advisor, has claimed to have saved over 500 babies from abortion, its website said. The network is a program of Heartbeat International, a longstanding network of pro-life pregnancy assistance.
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