Earlier this year during the COVID-19 pandemic, abortion facilities were closed in numerous states in an effort to slow the spread of the virus and preserve vital personal protective equipment (PPE). Abortion activists reacted with outrage, and even when abortion facilities re-opened, the abortion industry continued to advocate for dangerous at-home abortions. Seemingly in an effort to show the necessity of abortion pill access during the pandemic, Cosmopolitan shared a story of a woman who underwent the abortion pill regimen at home. But what stands out is just how horrific her experience with the abortion pill was.
“Esmarie,” a 19-year-old, learned she was pregnant just as the U.S. began to shut down for the pandemic. She was struggling for money, and thought abortion was her only option. “Everything was closed. I wasn’t making enough money,” she said. “The restaurants were giving me only 10 hours a week, so I couldn’t make enough to support myself. I was scared I would get COVID-19 because I was pregnant. I didn’t have a car, so I had to walk in the heat. No transportation, no work—I couldn’t meet my basic needs.”
“Esmarie,” who had taken the abortion pill before at eight weeks pregnant, decided she would do the same again. After two weeks, she received the pills in the mail, seemingly from an illegal underground operation purchasing the drugs in bulk from overseas, then selling them to women in the United States.
This time, Esmarie was 10 weeks pregnant, the FDA’s recommended gestational limit for taking the abortion pill.
“The first time, it was not that bad — I was able to handle the pain, I guess,” she said. “But the second time, it was so bad. I couldn’t move, I had chills, and my stomach was hurting. It was so bad I brought my blanket into the restroom just so I could be next to the tub, be next to the toilet.”
Sadly, her experience only got worse. She was staying with a friend and kept her abortion a secret, even as her condition deteriorated. “It was around 3 in the morning. I was crying and I was bleeding; I bled through three maxi pads,” she recalled. “You’re not supposed to bleed through more than two during a medical abortion. I was trying to take as much pain as I could, and I actually dealt with the pain for a good two hours. But then I just couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t lie down. I couldn’t sit down. I couldn’t do anything, so that’s when I decided to go to the emergency room even though there were COVID-19 patients there.”
At the hospital, “Esmarie” didn’t want to disclose that she had taken the abortion pill, and struggled to breathe and talk through her fear, her pain, and her tears as she tried to explain her condition. “I lost so much iron from bleeding that I passed out on the floor. I’m 4’11” and I weigh about 98 pounds,” she said. “I remember a receptionist told me to go put hand sanitizer on. I walked to go get hand sanitizer and I woke up on the floor.”
She concluded that her experience was solely due to the COVID-19 shutdowns, suggesting that her traumatic abortion wouldn’t have happened if she had been able to get the pills earlier. Yet “Esmarie” took the abortion pill within FDA gestational limits.
“Esmarie’s” experience is not unique. Numerous women have had similar experiences even when taking the abortion pill earlier and at an abortion facility. The potential side effects of the abortion pill include cramping, nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. More serious complications include uterine hemorrhaging, viral infections, sepsis, vaginitis, and even death. Women who have taken the pills describe it in similarly horrifying ways — as “the most physically and emotionally painful thing,” as “emotionally scarring and physically horrible,” and as “the most painful experience ever in my life.” Others have bled for months afterward.
This woman’s abortion experience was understandably traumatic, but the answer is not to make it more easily available. It is long past time for the FDA to take action and remove the abortion pill from the U.S. market.
Editor’s Note: For more information on abortion pill reversal, visit AbortionPillReversal.com.
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