The ProLife Doc, Dr. Bill Lile, knows that good obstetric healthcare is focused on preserving the health and lives of both pregnant mothers and the preborn babies they are carrying. 

Although the pro-abortion lobby gives lip-service to the idea of “women’s healthcare,” changes to Food & Drug Administration (FDA) policy over the past few years show a clear tendency to prioritize access to abortion over the safety and health of women. This inconsistency is especially apparent in the new, relaxed guidelines that transform medical abortion from a clinically supervised procedure to a do-it-yourself method for ending pregnancy at home.

The original approval of mifepristone by the FDA required the drug to be prescribed by a doctor and administered in person over three medical visits before seven weeks gestation. However, subsequent FDA policy changes have expanded access to the pill for DIY abortions, causing great concern among health professionals. 

Prior to these changes, medical abortions were performed in clinical settings with the supervision of a doctor trained to detect and treat the potential complications. The new policies extend the gestational age limit from seven weeks to 10 weeks and relax previous safety protocols, allowing women to get prescriptions from health care providers who are not physicians, forgo any testing to confirm gestational age, and to order the pills by mail. They end up taking the drugs at home and suffering through the resulting abortion without any medical oversight at all.

On the heels of the 2022 legal collapse of the unsteady Roe vs. Wade ruling, the debate over abortion in the U.S.—never truly resolved—has flared up hotly. Battle lines for life are being redrawn in one state after another. The pendulum of policy is swinging wildly, from near total restriction of abortion in some states to the loosening of gestational age limits on abortion in others. In this combative environment, it’s not hard to see the FDA’s decision to facilitate an increase in at-home abortions as one motivated more by politics than by good medical practice.

As mentioned in a previous blog post, the U.S. Supreme Court will soon deliberate on a case brought against the FDA by a physician’s group called Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, challenging this expanded access on the grounds that the changes do not adequately address health and safety concerns. The Court will hear oral arguments on March 26. At the heart of the case is the plaintiffs’ assertion that dispensing abortion pills without the care and oversight of a physician leaves women open to health risks on multiple fronts – as admitted by the FDA itself.

For example, the FDA’s mandatory labeling on the abortion pill acknowledges that 2.9% to 4.6% of women will need to visit the emergency room after taking mifepristone. It further acknowledges that up to 7% will need surgery after taking mifepristone ‘to stop bleeding’ or to complete the abortion. But even these numbers may be inaccurate. In the United Kingdom, data shows that nearly 6% of women who take the abortion pill are treated for complications, and in Australia, the number is 6.37%. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get accurate figures, and the data from the United States is probably low because only 28 states require complications to be reported to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). 

The risk to women is not just a pro-life scare-tactic. The FDA’s labeling on the abortion pill contains numerous warnings – warnings that the FDA deems “enough” of a safety precaution to allow women to self-medicate. Sure. Although some people read warning labels on drugs, does anyone believe that a scared young girl who wants an abortion will read all the fine print and heed all of its warnings? Or is it more likely she’ll believe all the pro-abortion propaganda that tells her it is “safe and effective?” 

As an example, the FDA label says not to take the drug if you are more than 70 days (10 weeks) gestation, saying “your healthcare provider may do a clinical examination or ultrasound examination” to confirm gestational age. “May?” The FDA does not even require it, despite the fact that its own guidelines prevent use of the pill beyond 10 weeks. Patients who mistake or misrepresent the progression of their pregnancy to their telehealth provider (who does not even need to be a licensed doctor) can end up taking the abortion pill well outside of the FDA’s window. The FDA acknowledges that medical abortions performed later in gestation directly correspond to an escalated risk of medical complications. 

The FDA also states that patients “must” rule out an ectopic pregnancy before taking the pill, despite the fact that the FDA nowhere requires that as a condition for prescribing the abortion pill. The abortion pill’s symptoms mimic those of a tubal pregnancy – cramping, bleeding, nausea, etc. In other words, a woman with a tubal rupture who takes the pill may think her symptoms are “normal” when in fact she is facing a life-threatening situation. Up to 2% of pregnancies are ectopic and they are easily detected by an ultrasound. Yet the FDA leaves young women on their own. 

Women are already bearing the health consequences of the FDA’s failure to regulate these high-risk drugs. For example, in Indiana, which has become an “abortion destination” state due to neighboring states restricting abortion, not only have abortions increased but they have experienced a 600% uptick in reported abortion complications over the number it saw in 2021. In Pennsylvania, with the increased use of the abortion pill, abortion complications have doubled in five years.

If people genuinely cared about women’s health, first, they would support the pro-life cause. Barring that, they would at least want the FDA to strictly regulate the abortion pill for what it is: a highly dangerous drug that should never be dispensed without medical oversight.

Last week, both CVS and Walgreens announced that, where legal, they will begin dispensing abortion pills when prescribed. So in addition to getting these pills by mail, young girls can now pick them up at their corner drugstore. How many times does it have to be said? Taking lives in the womb with heartbeats is not healthcare! The abortion pill should hold no place in the healing arts.

At ProLife Doc, we know that all abortions take the life of another, and would like to see a world in which a woman would never consider killing the baby in her womb as “healthcare.” It is ironic that pro-abortion advocates like to claim that pro-lifers don’t care about a woman or her baby after the baby is born (a claim that is easily refuted if you bother to visit a pregnancy resource clinic). But if they held a mirror up to themselves, they would see that they could not care less what happens to a woman during and after an abortion, even when more and more women are ending up in the hospital.

To learn more about the risks of abortion, pro-life issues, or the ProLife Doc’s ministry and educational resources, contact the ProLife Doc, Dr. William Lile, subscribe to our newsletter, and visit our website regularly!


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