Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Anger at Giving Women a Choice

Amanda Marcotte at Slate is pitching a hissy fit over the abortion-pill reversal protocol that helps women who change their minds after taking the first part of the two-step medical abortion.

Secular Pro Life does a good job of untangling exactly what Marcotte's beef is with abortion-pill reversal. 
First there's the issue of whether mifepristone is actually effective. She initially says that it's an important component of the two-pill procedure:
Misoprostol can work on its own—many black-market abortion pills are just misoprostol—but, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, taking the mifepristone improves the likelihood of a safe, complete abortion.
Then Marcotte quotes Dr. Daniel Grossman from Ibis Reproductive Health (which supports abortion). In his account, the second pill (misoprostol) is the key and mifepristone alone does basically nothing, to the point that an abortion pill reversal amounts to a placebo:
Mifepristone "by itself is not an effective abortion regimen," he said, and so many women who just take the first pill will not miscarry if they simply don't take the second. If he had a patient who changed her mind halfway through, he explained, he would recommend doing nothing and monitoring the pregnancy to make sure it's continuing normally.
Marcotte also can't decide where she stands on the safety of the progesterone injections. In one breath, she denounces it as a dangerous "experiment." ....  In the next, she returns to Dr. Grossman, who "says that the progesterone probably won't hurt a woman if she’s under medical supervision." Which she would be, because shockingly, pro-life doctors are doctors too.
If Marcotte is concerned because there is so little research on abortion-pill reversal, why isn't she advocating for pro-choice doctors to investigate how to help women who make the choice to halt abortions in-progress? If it's all about choice, isn't this a choice women should be allowed to know about? In fact, isn't it a choice that the abortion provider should be offering?

It's not until the very end of the article that Marcotte reveals the real reason she and other abortion-rights activists hate abortion-pill reversal. Informing women that this option is available "could mislead the public about the prevalence of abortion regret."

To which I'd say, "So what?" If women really are as firm in their abortion choices as Marcotte and company assert, the bulk of them will blow the whole thing off as irrelevant to them. Informing the public about this option would only offer a choice to those women -- however few -- who are not so confident in their decision.

I think that we need to go even deeper, to what Marcotte doesn't say but which is certainly clear in the subtext: If women are seeking abortion-pill reversal, that raises questions about how unbiased and thorough pre-abortion counseling is. That raises questions about how trustworthy abortion providers are. And that is something the abortion lobby can not afford to let the public start wondering about.

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