Abortion Pill

Washington Post inadvertently exposes dangers and trauma of the abortion pill

An October 18 article in the Washington Post shines a light on the underground abortion pill network that is currently operating in America, as abortion supporters look for new ways to promote and access abortion post Roe v. Wade. But while the article attempts to paint this black market abortion network positively, portraying some of its international members as heroes fighting for a cause, it inadvertently exposes the reality of what abortion really is: a dangerous procedure that ends the life of a preborn child.

The article features a 25-year-old woman named Monica, who lives in a state where preborn children are protected from abortion. When she experienced an unplanned pregnancy, Monica turned to the internet for help. “I need advice[.] I am not prepared to have a child,” she wrote on a Reddit forum. She titled her post, “PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!” In response, she got a private message from someone who said they could mail her abortion pills from California.

READ: Live Action’s new campaign, ‘Can’t Stay Silent,’ shines a light on abortion’s harm to women and men

“Do you still need Mifepristone? I live in California and have access to it. I could mail it to you asap for free,” the person wrote.

The Post goes on to reveal that this network of mailing illegal abortion pills across state lines is far more nefarious than one stranger mailing medication to another. In fact, the network has international roots and is financially backed by large donors, who remain unnamed. The Post says it spoke with 16 people involved in an illegal abortion pill ring, and they mention activity that is dangerous and breaks multiple laws.

Abortion pill dangers

The abortion pill procedure is a two-part process that begins when a woman takes mifepristone, which blocks the pregnancy hormone progesterone and causes the lining of the woman’s uterus to break down. This starves the baby of the nutrients he needs to survive. Sometime between several hours to up to two days later, the mother takes misoprostol, which triggers contractions and causes her to deliver the baby. This regimen can cause severe cramping, contractions, and heavy bleeding, as well as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, headaches, and potentially even death.

The procedure is far riskier than many people realize. It is four times more dangerous than first-trimester surgical abortion, and it has caused a massive increase in abortion-related emergency room visits. Complications related to its use are also likely severely underreported, especially as instances like Monica’s arise, and women may be afraid or unwilling to admit that they’ve undergone a chemical abortion. Of course, by not telling doctors the truth, women are further putting their health in jeopardy.


Illegal use heightens the risk

While the abortion pill procedure itself is dangerous, the way in which Monica received the pills is also alarming. As the Post reports, illegal abortion pill networks source the drugs from out-of-country, usually Mexico or India. They are sent via mail in unmarked or unsealed packaging to avoid detection; Monica’s pills arrived inside a cat flea medication box. This prompted concern from her boyfriend.

“What if they’re fake? What if they’re sending you something that isn’t even the abortion pill?” he asked her, noting that he’d heard of other drugs that had been laced with fentanyl.

Disregarding the dangers, Monica took the pills, even though she had no way of knowing what they really were. When she started to experience heavy cramping, a friend suggested she head to the hospital. Monica refused because she was afraid of legal ramifications, thereby further risking her health.

Monica also experienced one of the many risks that come with taking the pills without an examination by a doctor. This stipulation — required by the FDA until recently — helps to rule out ectopic pregnancy and ensures that the woman does not undergo the chemical abortion past the FDA’s gestational time limit (currently 10 weeks). Monica, however, was 13 weeks along and using the pills, which further increased her risk of serious complications or even death.

Abortion always ends the life of a child

While the Post article’s main intention is to highlight the great lengths that the abortion pill network will go to enable women like Monica to commit chemical abortions, it also — perhaps inadvertently — underscores the humanity of her preborn child.

The Post details the traumatic experience Monica had after taking her second pill (emphasis added):

She felt a flood of liquid in her underwear and stepped into the bath with her clothes still on. Lying back in the tub, she said, she felt some pressure release. Then she screamed.

The fetus was floating in the water. Slightly smaller than her palm, the fetus had a head, hands, and legs, she said. Defined fingers and toes.

She leapt from the bath and collapsed in her boyfriend’s arms.

Desperate for some guidance, soaking wet and crying, she took out her phone.

Monica texted the person who had sent her the abortion pills and was told that feeling emotional was normal. “Going through an abortion can bring up a lot of emotions,” they wrote. “Just take some time for yourself.”

Sadly, Monica’s abortion experience here isn’t unique, and it isn’t the result of the fact that she took the drugs illegally. Even women who take abortion pills that have legally been prescribed to them describe “terrifying experiences” of giving birth alone, in the bathroom. “I saw parts of my baby, images I will never be able to erase,” recounted one woman.

While the Post casually notes that many women just “flushed the fetus down the toilet,” Monica and her boyfriend decided to bury their child — a clear sign that they recognized their baby’s humanity. They went to a local park and buried their child in a box under a tree, covering the spot with wildflowers afterward.

Those behind the illegal abortion pill networks know that their work results in the killing of a baby. One abortion doula speaks of sending acid along with the abortion pills so that women can use it to partially dissolve the body of their deceased child.

As the Post reports, “The abortion doula said she often sends a small amount of acid so the client can dissolve some of the fetus, and bury whatever is left. I try to emotionally prepare them and say, ‘It’s going to look like a baby,’” explained the doula.

Abortion pill networks aren’t saving lives — they’re endangering some and ending others

The Washington Post article uses Monica’s story as a backdrop to a lengthy look at how international abortion pill networks are operating in the United States, with volunteers who use burner phones and encrypted emails, but it completely misses the stark reality demonstrated in its own piece: the use of the abortion pill is dangerous and it puts the lives of countless women like Monica at risk. It ends the life of the preborn child and can cause lasting trauma for the parents. There is nothing caring or progressive about that.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to include information regarding the claim that acid is being sent along with abortion pills to dissolve fetal remains.

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