Abortion Pill

How Big Abortion flouts state pro-life laws and puts women at risk with ‘self managed’ abortion

abortion pill

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade with the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision in 2022, multiple states led by pro-abortion lawmakers have begun to pass laws intended to protect abortion providers from prosecution by states that have enacted pro-life protections. And some efforts go further, shielding abortionists from any scrutiny from lawsuits or medical licensing boards, which typically frown upon lawbreaking.

Live Action News has documented that a number of shield laws are being proposed or have passed in the following states: CaliforniaConnecticutHawaiiIllinoisMassachusettsMarylandMaineMinnesotaNew YorkOregonPennsylvaniaVirginia (vetoed), Vermont, and Washington State. Other states that have proposed or passed these protections include, DelawareNew MexicoNevada, as well as the District of Columbia (D.C.).

Shield laws, however, do not protect women, and have been credited for the abortion pill being shipped to 40,000 women in the last half of 2023, according to a #WeCount report from May 14, 2024. Between July and December of 2023, “[O]ver 40,000 people in states with total or 6-week bans, and states with telehealth restrictions have accessed medication abortion provided under shield laws,” the report claims.

#WeCount abortions last quarter 2023 with and without shirld laws by state (Graph: #WeCount May 14, 2024 report)

#WeCount abortions last quarter 2023 with and without shirld laws by state (Graph: #WeCount May 14, 2024 report)

#WeCount is sponsored by the pro-abortion Society of Family Planning (SFP), which was founded in 2005 with contributions from the Packard Foundation, and is heavily funded by both the Packard and Susan Thompson Buffett Foundations (Warren Buffett). These Foundations financed abortion pill manufacturer Danco Laboratories in its early days.

#WeCount’s contributors include so-called “experts” from multiple universities, Planned Parenthood and its former “special affiliate” the Guttmacher Institute, and Ibis Reproductive Health — an organization previously funded by abortion pill manufacturer Danco and currently funded by both SFP and the Packard Foundation.

#WeCount’s Claims

#WeCount research is estimated, and the group is heavily biased toward abortion.

“In the 15 states with total or six-week abortion bans, #WeCount estimates that more than 180,000 abortions would have likely been obtained via providers in these states since Dobbs, had abortion not been banned,” #WeCount wrote in its release. “The states with the greatest cumulative declines in abortion volume over 18 months include Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Alabama.”

The report claimed that in 2023, five states had some form of shield law for some period of time: Massachusetts, Colorado, Washington, New York, and Vermont.

“Telehealth abortions by providers operating under shield law protections averaged 8,000 per month from October to December 2023, making up nearly half of all telehealth abortions counted in #WeCount,” the report claimed. “From July-December 2023, over 40,000 people in states with total or 6-week bans, and states with telehealth restrictions have accessed medication abortion provided under shield laws—reinforcing that abortion bans do not eliminate the need for abortion care.”

#WeCount’s report attempts to dismiss the effectiveness of state pro-life protections, putting forth the idea that abortion providers will sell abortion regardless of its legality.

Shielding Abortionists

#WeCount’s report found that “by December 2023, providers in states with the protections were prescribing pills to about 6,000 women a month in states where abortion was banned at all stages of pregnancy or once cardiac activity can be detected — about six weeks, often before women realize they’re pregnant. The prescriptions also were going to about 2,000 women a month in states where the local laws limit abortion pill prescriptions by telemedicine,” ABC News reported.

“If a Colorado provider provides telehealth care to a patient who’s in Texas, Colorado will not participate in any Texas criminal action or civil lawsuit,” Drexel University law professor David Cohen told ABC News. “Colorado says: ‘The care that was provided in our state was legal. It follows our laws because the provider was in our state.’”

Cohen has boasted on Twitter/X that he, Greer Donley (assistant professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh Law School), and Rachel Rebouché (interim dean of Temple University’s Beasley School of Law), were the visionaries behind the shield law concept.

Shield Laws Credited for Increased Abortion Totals 

“In all, the survey counted about 90,000 monthly surgical or medication abortions offered by medical providers in 2023, higher than the previous year,” ABC News noted about #WeCount. The report attributes a partial increase in 2023 to “abortions being provided under shield laws, starting in July 2023, and #WeCount’s subsequent inclusion of these abortions.”

In 2023, according to the Guttmacher Institute, abortion pill use climbed to 63% of the “estimated 1,026,690 abortions [which] occurred in the formal health care system in 2023,” making up nearly 70% of the abortions Planned Parenthood now reportedly commits.

Guttmacher’s 2023 total reflects a 10.38% percent increase over the course of three years — from 930,160 reported in 2020 to 1,026,690 reported in 2023.

“It is important to note that these annual estimates are almost certainly an undercount, as they include only those abortions obtained within the formal US health care system: at brick-and-mortar health facilities, such as clinics or doctor’s offices, and via telehealth and virtual providers,” Guttmacher also wrote (emphasis added).

This means that #WeCount estimated abortion numbers could be higher than what Guttmacher has reported.

Telehealth and Virtual Abortion

“Telehealth abortions are especially on the rise. By December 2023, they accounted for 19% of all abortions nationwide,” wrote The Guardian. According to #WeCount, 17,000 telehealth abortions took place each month from October to December 2023. This count included “brick-and-mortar clinics, virtual-only clinics, and under shield law protections into states with bans on abortion or telehealth.” The national average for brick-and-mortar telehealth abortions for those same months was 930.

#WeCount defines a telehealth abortion as “medication abortion offered by a clinician through a remote consultation with the patient (via video, phone, or messaging) that results in medications dispensed via mail,” and says, “All telehealth abortions are counted according to the state to which the medications are mailed.”

In that same time period, “there was an average of 5,800 monthly telehealth abortions provided under shield laws to people in states with total abortion bans or 6-week abortion bans, and nearly 2,000 monthly telehealth abortions provided under shield laws to people in states with restrictions on telehealth abortion,” the report claimed.

#WeCount telehealth abortions last quarter 2023 (Graph: #WeCount May 14, 2014 report)

#WeCount telehealth abortions last quarter 2023 (Graph: #WeCount May 14, 2014 report)

Alison Norris, an epidemiologist at Ohio State University and a lead researcher on the #WeCount report, told ABC News that “the group is not breaking down how many pills were shipped to each state with a ban ‘to maintain the highest level of protection for individuals receiving that care and providers providing that care.’”

Shield Law Coalitions

In 2022, the group Abortion Coalition for Telemedicine (ACT) was established. Its mission, according to their website, is to “provide clinicians who are licensed in states where telemedicine abortion practitioners are shielded under the law with the technical assistance and consulting services needed to operate an interstate practice that serves patients who would otherwise be denied access to quality care because of where they live or their circumstances.”

The ACT website states:

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, we got to work advocating for and passing state-level legislation that shields clinicians licensed in states where abortion remains legal from criminal or civil liability. With laws on the books in states like NY, WA, CO, VT, MA, and CA, we established a playbook for shielded clinicians to provide safe, timely, and affordable medication abortion via telemedicine to patients in states where abortion is banned or restricted.

We’re now focused on working directly with clinicians to launch shielded practices so more patients can legally receive interstate telemedicine abortion care.

ACT was co-founded by abortionists Linda Prine and Maggie Carpenter. Prine is an Aid Access abortionist and co-founder of the Miscarriage and Abortion Hotline, who recently wrote an opinion piece advocating shield laws. Carpenter is a past Planned Parenthood volunteer who has reportedly “provided medical and surgical abortions since 1999” and who also “started working with Aid Access in 2020 and helped launch Hey Jane [a virtual abortion pill dispensary] in December 2020 and continues to work with both organizations.”

A third co-founder of ACT is Julie F. Kay, “the lead attorney who designed and litigated the landmark abortion rights case ABC v. Ireland before the European Court of Human Rights which helped lay the groundwork for legalization of abortion in Ireland,” her profile stated.

Abortion Coalition for Telemedicine ACT founder Linda Prine, Maggie Carpenter and Julie F. Kay

Abortion Coalition for Telemedicine ACT founder Linda Prine, Maggie Carpenter and Julie F. Kay

Protect ‘Me’ ‘Me’ ‘Me’ 

“There are clinicians, like me, ready to provide abortion pills via telemedicine to people in states where abortion care is banned or restricted. A telemedicine shield law is needed to substantially protect clinicians, staff, and pharmacists practicing in New York state from actions taken by politically motivated officials in other states to protect our licenses and our malpractice coverage, and to protect us from criminal or civil lawsuits, from extradition, and from subpoenas of medical records,” abortionist Linda Prine wrote.

In addition, abortion pill funding organizations have also emerged, notes Ms. Magazine: “Healthcare Across Borders (HCAB) has launched a new Abortion Pill Sustainability Fund to support shield-state clinicians serving patients in states banning abortion.” That organization was founded by Jodi L. Jacobson, the founder and editor in chief of Rewire.News. Jacobson claimed to have “worked with medical professionals and diverse organizations across the country to pass shield laws in several states, including California, Colorado, New York, Vermont, and Washington, helping spur a dramatic expansion in access to care throughout the country, irrespective of zip code.”

“Cumulatively, the 16 providers now offering telemedicine abortion to banned states are providing nearly well over 12,000 abortions per month, with demand increasing weekly,” the group’s donation page stated.

Self-Managed Abortion Potentially Harms Women

Today, “self-managed” abortion essentially involves no medical professional being available in person, and by definition leaves women alone to “manage” whether their abortions are complete (without retained tissue), whether they are bleeding too much (hemorrhage), or whether they are experiencing a potential emergency.

Published percentages for ER visits on the abortion drug’s 2023 label states that 2.9 to 4.6 percent of women who take abortion drugs end up in the emergency room, indicating that abortion pill ER visits could be in the tens of thousands every year.

In addition, the FDA’s medication guide acknowledges that as many as seven percent (7%) of women will need surgery after taking mifepristone “to stop bleeding” or to complete the abortion.

The “self-managed abortion” scheme was planned and implemented by the abortion industry years before the fall of Roe v. Wade. Even in the early days of the abortion pill’s approval, the industry acknowledged that emergency rooms would be a necessary link in the “self-managed” abortion chain, despite the claim that the drug is “safe.”

The abortion industry shifted responsibility for abortion pill clients from abortion providers to often overcrowded emergency rooms. Today, bad actors inside the industry even tell abortion clients not to call them, but to instead present to emergency rooms for abortion pill aftercare. Some have even suggested that clients lie about abortion pill complications and claim they are experiencing a natural miscarriage.

Why does this matter? Because it falsifies the true dangers of the abortion pill for women, instead blaming those dangers on natural pregnancy complications.

Manipulating the Vulnerable to “Shield” Abortionists

Prine recently spoke to the Washington Post about advice she gave a 15-year-old who ordered abortion pills “in a state with an abortion ban.” According to the media outlet, the teen “had taken pills and passed a fetus larger than she’d expected.”

“Unable to flush the fetus down the toilet, the girl asked about throwing it away,” Washington Post claimed.

Prine’s biggest concern was that the girl should not “tell anybody.” She also told the teen, “You are doing what’s right for you and your future family,” and “This way you can be a good mom when you’re ready to be a good mom.”

Why would abortionist Prine tell a scared teenager to not tell anyone, when she is not at risk of prosecution under pro-life laws?

To protect abortion providers.

Separately, after a woman took abortion pills and called Prine’s hotline with “reports of unexpectedly heavy bleeding,” Prine, who did not see the client in person, irresponsibly told her over the phone, “Your uterus knows what to do,” adding, “It’s going to take care of itself.”

Prine and her colleagues admitted to not sending another woman to the ER to be checked out. According to the Washington Post article:

When the Miscarriage and Abortion Hotline received its first call from a woman who was unable to pass her placenta — at least five weeks further into her pregnancy than the FDA’s 10-week limit — a group of hotline doctors started messaging one another, trying to decide what to say to her, Prine said.

One doctor in the group insisted that the woman had to go straight to the ER, but Prine and others disagreed. Worried the woman could face prosecution or mistreatment if she went to the hospital, Prine said, they walked her through her abortion at home, instructing her to take more abortion pills and gently massage her stomach until the placenta came free — the same advice Briana said she received.

“We didn’t feel like it was a medical emergency. She wasn’t bleeding heavily and she wasn’t lightheaded,” said Prine, adding that they would have recommended the woman go the ER if a hospital visit was medically necessary.

To reiterate, the Washington Post article was clear that “Abortion bans do not allow people seeking abortions to be prosecuted, targeting only doctors and others involved in facilitating the abortion,” while at the same time, “shield laws” protect the abortionist. So why the alleged worry about prosecution of the woman?

Shield Laws Do Not Protect Women

Historically, Big Abortion has failed to protect women, and now with “shield laws” allegedly guaranteeing no prosecutions where abortion is restricted, abortion profiteers can hide inside pro-abortion states while they violate the law and profit off the backs of women and the deaths of babies anywhere they choose.

The media is doing its part to protect lawbreakers by manipulating the public into believing that Big Abortion is merely an extension of the American health care sector. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Big Abortion’s dirty little secrets and the industry’s blatant disregard for the health and safety of women are numerous. It was not long ago when abortionist Krishna RajannaKermit Gosnell, and many others made headlines for the horrific way they operated so-called “safe and legal” abortion businesses. These were not anomalies.

And, while abortionists are shielded from scrutiny, the names of women who have died in Big Abortion’s wake are forgotten, leaving their families to pick up the pieces.

Remember, Big Abortion has never been about safety – only access, because access lines their pockets financially — and “shield laws” guarantee this. Abortionists can illegally mail abortion pills to women in other states and no one will be prosecuted, and women are left to depend upon their local emergency rooms or urgent care facilities to help them when they experience complications.

The DOJ put a pro-life grandmother in jail for protesting the killing of preborn children. Please take 30-seconds to TELL CONGRESS: STOP THE DOJ FROM TARGETING PRO-LIFE AMERICANS.

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