Abortion Pill

In promoting illegal abortion pill websites, media plays Russian roulette with women’s lives

abortion pill, telabortion, Plan B, emergency contraception, pill

A recent report published by VICE appears to endorse illegal and irresponsible abortion pill websites, revealing how the abortion industry advises women experiencing complications from illegal abortion pills to lie and tell emergency healthcare providers that they are having natural miscarriages. The article walks the readers through the illegal process of a woman called “Tara,” who ordered abortion pills from an unregulated website promoting “self-managed” abortion.  And the report contains multiple hidden agendas.

Hidden Agenda #1: Promote taxpayer-funded, zero-deductible, “no-cost” abortion for patients.

Tara* has health insurance. But when she found out she was pregnant, she realized she still wouldn’t be able to afford the cost of an in-clinic abortion: Since she hadn’t met her $1,500 deductible, she would have to pay for the entire procedure out of pocket, which would cost several hundred dollars…. Then she remembered she had read about Aid Access, a website run by a doctor based in the Netherlands who prescribes abortion pills for just $90.

Did VICE attempt to explain why an abortion pill shipped from outside the U.S. can cost hundreds less than one sold by an abortion facility? No. Instead of glorifying pills shipped online from random unregulated locations, VICE might have questioned why the price of the abortion pill at U.S. abortion facilities is so exceedingly high.

Image: FDA warns consumers to not buy abortion pills over the internet (Image: FDA)

FDA warns consumers to not buy abortion pills over the internet (Image: FDA)

Hidden Agenda #2: Promote unregulated online abortions.

From VICE:

Aid Access is currently considered the most reputable resource for self-managing an abortion. While there are several sites where people can buy abortion pills online, Aid Access is the most affordable….

Reputable? Nowhere in the VICE piece is it mentioned that the Food and Drug Administration sent a warning letter to Aid Accessto “immediately cease” dispension of the drugs provided by an abortionist in the Netherlands and filled by a pharmacy in India. The unregulated group responded by expressing their intent to defy the FDA’s warnings. In May 2019, 100 lawmakers sent a letter to the FDA requesting the agency “continue to conduct oversight” of Aid Access. And, despite the fact that the FDA has seized or shut down websites illegally dispensing other drugs, the government agency appears to be dragging its feet in shutting down this unregulated site.

Hidden Agenda #3: Remove the FDA’s safety protocols for the abortion pill.

While three women VICE spoke to who used Aid Access were all ultimately successful in self-managing their abortions with pills from the site, some women online have described panicking about the wait time for the pills…. And others—including one of the women in this story—said that they had used the abortion pills past the recommended time frame due to shipping delays…This is…the result of the many restrictions on medication abortion, which doctors and reproductive health experts say are medically unnecessary

…Giving yourself a medication abortion doesn’t have to include weeks of waiting for a package to arrive in the mail, reproductive health advocates say: If the FDA lifted the restrictions on mifepristone….

The FDA’s safety system called REMS only permits the abortion pill to be prescribed at a hospital or facility which can properly date a pregnancy and which has the ability to handle complications or emergencies. Yet abortion organizations and their media allies like VICE are protecting dangerous websites not regulated by the FDA. Case in point, VICE mentions online support groups that direct women to these clandestine websites, and writes, “VICE is not including the names of the online forums so as not to make them a target for shuttering.”


Instead of condemning the illegal websites shipping unregulated abortion pills and defying the FDA, VICE implied that U.S. Customs agents were “targeting” Aid Access:

Some people receive their package in just a few days, but others may wait weeks for theirs to arrive. (Customs did not return VICE’s multiple requests for comment about whether it is targeting packages from Aid Access.)

Dangerous Consequences: 

There are dangerous consequences to VICE’s kind of irresponsible journalism promoting self-managed abortion:

Even though Tara didn’t receive her pills until the 11-week mark, she was undeterred by the warnings about taking the pills past 10 weeks. She researched medication abortion past 10 weeks, looked up the signs of infection, and read about the experiences of other people who had been in a similar situation.

To recap, even though the abortion pill has only been approved through 70 days (or 10 weeks) by the FDA, women accessing these illegal websites could be risking serious complications by proceeding without any clinical oversight.

Dr. Donna Harrison, Executive Director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), told Live Action News, “The risk of massive hemorrhage rises exponentially after 10 weeks gestation. Two out of 10 to 4 out of 10 women will need emergency surgery to complete the abortion. For women in rural areas, this can mean death from hemorrhage unless they can access emergency rooms staffed with OBGYNs who can handle the complications.”

As Live Action News previously documented, when complications from a “self-managed abortion” arise, abortion advocates advise women to present to the ER claiming they are experiencing a natural miscarriage, rather than abortion. This was clearly illustrated by the VICE piece:

She knew if she had any complications to just tell doctors that she had a miscarriage, to avoid possible criminalization for self-inducing an abortion.

Neither the abortion industry nor its reckless media allies seem concerned with how irresponsible reporting on the abortion pill can impact women’s safety when suffering a botched pill abortion by leaving medical personnel unaware of important details needed for women’s emergency care. In addition, a growing litany of such false “miscarriage” reports will eventually lead to polluted data on all early pregnancies, which could lead to higher medical or insurance costs for all pregnant women.

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