Medicine’s Movement towards Abandonment
by Jim Hewes
We trust ourselves to a doctor because we suppose he/she knows his/her profession. We judge they would not act as they do unless the remedy were necessary, and we must rely on their knowledge and skill. Yet both the medical community and the larger society are moving towards a place of abandonment towards those in their care, instead of providing what is best for them.
We saw this troubling indication happen when Covid hit the United States, before the development of the vaccines. Many doctors did not treat those who came into their office with Covid. They sent them home without much care, and in that sense “abandoned” them and told them to go to the emergency room if they got worse.
Specifically, today’s expanded use of abortion pills (mifepristone and misoprostol) abandons women who are alone, fearful, pressured, and overwhelmed. They are left to go back to their place of residence alone, while taking the chemical abortion pills in the absence of a medical professional. Some women are receiving prescriptions for abortion pills from doctors, without even a medical examination or ever actually seeing a physician, despite the evidence that there can be many serious health risks to women using the abortion pills (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, ectopic pregnancies, hospitalizations, blood transfusions, infections and even death).
In addition, it will not be the abortionist taking the life of the patient’s pre-born son or daughter; it will now be a mother actually ending the life of her pre-born child by taking the abortion pills herself. These women, abandoned by the medical personnel, will then have to see the remains of their aborted children (who have been starved or suffocated and who have begun to shrivel).
After witnessing the dead or dying corpse expelled from her, the mother alone will have to dispose of the remains of her aborted child because she took the abortion pills by herself at home. Recall that organs, tissues, and other forms of biological waste must go through medical incineration. Improperly disposing of biological waste can harm the environment. This practice will change her home or dorm room from a place of safety to an abortion facility. It will also cause many women to see something they weren’t prepared to see – their baby, small, yet fully formed and fully human.
Many people who support abortion will be at public protests holding up signs with the drawing of a coat hanger. They are trying to evoke an image of days when an untold number of women were by themselves, using a dangerous instrument such as a coat hanger, to commit a self-induced abortion (taking the life of their pre-born son or daughter), or using other various methods of self-induced abortion, which often resulted in health problems. Currently there is a modern version of the “coat hanger,” a return to a new “back alley,” namely by taking risky and deadly chemical abortion pills by themselves.
The Food and Drug Administration’s summary report of adverse events states that the total number of abortion pill-related adverse events from 2000 to 2022 was 28 deaths, 97 ectopic pregnancies, 3,113 hospitalizations, 604 blood transfusions, and 414 infections (including 71 severe infections), with a total of 4,213 adverse events reported; additionally, the abortion pills do not work for 2-7% of the women who take them. Now in the U.S. just over 50% of abortions are done by the abortion pills. A large Finnish study found that chemical abortions produced “adverse events” in 20% of cases, so one in five women might experience a complication, four times higher than the complication rate for surgical abortions. Chemical abortions take a longer time than surgical ones. This means in 2020 just over 100,000 women in the U.S. may have experienced some type of complication from a chemical abortion.
Also, the inadequacies of U.S. reporting requirements mean that some complications may go unreported. There is the additional problem of rural women who take abortion pills, who live a great distance from the help they would need when serious complications develop.
What is not included in these reports is that many women who take the abortion pills, as with surgical abortions, often experience emotional and psychological harm such as depression, anxiety, risky behaviors, alcoholism, substance abuse and even thoughts of suicide.
Use of abortion pills will also make it much harder to detect and address any pressure and coercion upon women who use them. Many other circumstances complicate a simple dispensing of abortion pills: a pregnancy test may give a false reading and doesn’t determine how far along the pregnancy is; there’s no one to report a statutory rape situation in the case that the mother is under 18 and the father is older; a victim of sex trafficking may have no one to help get her to a safe place away from her abuser and notify authorities; the woman taking the pills may know absolutely nothing about the deaths and severe side effects that have occurred from these drugs (including from tubal pregnancies).
The abandonment is not just by the medical community. A large portion of abortions wouldn’t happen if the father had wanted the child. The mother often first feels unwanted and abandoned by the significant people around her and, sadly, passes this along to her pre-born child. As the saying goes, “Pain that is not transformed is transmitted.”
Chemical abortions don’t take into account what is pressuring women to have an abortion, whether it is unhealthy relationships; feeling unable to raise a child, especially as a single parent; lack of a job; lack of decent affordable housing; transportation needs; the false belief that a baby would interfere with school, work or the ability to care for dependents; mental health problems; living in poverty; or even low self-esteem. Of those seeking abortion, 75% are poor or low-income, so abortion advocates are primarily targeting marginalized women and girls with the abortion pill. So nothing changes for women after a chemical abortion, because society has abandoned them as well.
In addition, abortion providers offer abortion pills as late as 11 weeks’ gestation. The pre-born child already has a heartbeat, detectable brain waves, fingers and toes clearly defined, as well as major body systems that have formed. A window to the child in the womb by ultrasound shows a recognizably human form as each of us once was. So chemical abortions are certainly not safe for the thousands of babies who are destroyed by these deadly drugs.
Medication treats or prevents disease. Pregnancy is not a disease, so chemical abortion is not actually medication, any more than administering drugs to end someone’s life with the death penalty is. It doesn’t restore health or save a life. On the contrary, its sole purpose is to deliberately impair normal healthy functioning in order to end a life.
It also puts many pharmacists in an untenable position toward those who come to them for abortion pills. This policy changes pharmacies from dispensers of health to dispensers of health risks and death, as an extension of an abortion facility.
Pope Francis talks about the importance of accompaniment, especially accompanying those in difficult situations. Prescribing abortion pills for a “quick fix” is the farthest from that, abandoning these vulnerable pregnant women by conveying that they aren’t worth the time and effort to help them navigate their challenging situation. It does not provide a woman a chance of seeing her baby’s ultrasound, or hearing about available help, or learning that there are couples who are ready and eager to adopt, so that she may have a true choice to be able to choose life, not only for her pre-born daughter or son, but for herself as well.
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