Ask Amy: What Happened Last Week? Chemical Abortions and PNA

Dear Amy,

I heard that last week was a bad week for preborn babies and their moms. What happened? What can pro-lifers in Illinois do to help?

–Ready for Action in Alton

Late last week, while millions of people across Illinois and across America were winding down and preparing for the last weekend before Christmas, the abortion industry dealt two devastating blows to the health and safety of women and young girls. They also opened the door for countless more preborn babies to die from abortion. Last week, the abortion industry showed their true colors yet again: Profit matters much more to them than protecting the health of women, the rights of parents, or the lives of the most innocent.

On Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration permanently removed a key safeguard of mifepristone, one of the two drugs used in chemical abortions. Mifepristone is one of only 57 drugs out of the tens of thousands of drugs with FDA approval under its Risk Evaluation and Mitigation System (REMS). Because mifepristone fell under the REMS protocols, it had to be dispensed to patients only in certain health care settings, specifically clinics, medical offices, and hospitals and under the supervision of a certified prescriber. Why? Because it posed such extreme safety hazards to the women who took it. Thursday’s ruling removed the in-person requirement for prescribing mifepristone.

While we don’t yet know the specifics of how mifepristone will now be virtually prescribed, Thursday’s ruling now allows the dangerous drug to be sent through the mail. Under the new protocols, it will be much more difficult for physicians to determine how many weeks’ gestation the mother is, Chemical abortion is only approved until 10 weeks of pregnancy. The risk of complications grows precipitously the later in pregnancy it is used. 

It will also be difficult, if not impossible, to determine if mothers have a potentially life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, or other health factors that might be contradictions to taking the abortion pill. The restrictions on mifepristone were not measures to make it more difficult for a woman to obtain an abortion, these were measures designed to protect women’s health.

What is so dangerous about mifepristone itself? 

In 2004, four years after the FDA approved chemical abortions in 2000, the FDA required Danco, the manufacturer of mifipristone, to make safety changes to the drug’s labeling, adding warnings that the drug could cause serious bacterial infections, sepsis, bleeding, and death.

In November of 2021, the Charlotte Lozier Institute released a study that showed the rate of abortion-related emergency room visits following a chemical abortion increased over 500% between 2002 and 2015 within the study population — which included women residing within the 17 states which provide Medicaid funding for abortion who were over 13 years of age, and had an abortion, followed by a trip to the ER within 30 days. 

Tessa Longbons of the Charlotte Lozier institute has further detailed the dangers of mifepristone and the FDA’s December 16 announcement.

Not to be outdone, on December 17, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the very-deceptively named, “Youth Health and Safety Act” which repeals Illinois’s Parental Notice of Abortion law. The fact that Governor Pritzker repealed this popular law on a Friday afternoon one week before Christmas Eve was no accident. Unpopular political moves are often made on Fridays to avoid media coverage. That would hold even more true the Friday before Christmas Eve.

Illinois Right to Life released the following statement in response to Governor Pritzker signing the bill to repeal Parental Notice of Abortion:

Today, on a Friday only a week before Christmas, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker ignored the will of Illinois voters, usurped the right of Illinois parents to be involved in their children’s health care, and endangered countless minor girls by signing HB 370, repealing Illinois’s Parental Notice of Abortion law. 

A March, 2021 Tarrance Poll revealed that 72% of Illinois voters, including 55% who identify as pro-choice, supported this commonsense law. Under this law, abortion providers were required to notify parents or other specified guardians 48 hours before a minor girl underwent an abortion. Governor Pritzker claimed this law was necessary to protect girls in abusive homes, however the law allowed for a judicial waiver if the minor girl had reason not to tell her family. By signing this repeal, Governor Pritzker is abandoning the young girls of Illinois and its neighboring states by putting them at the mercy of their abusers and the abortion industry rather than giving them the opportunity to escape their abuse by speaking with a judge.

The reality is that the vast majority of parents love their daughters and want what is best for them. Minor girls in Illinois cannot get their ears pierced or even receive an aspirin at school without their parents’ consent. Now these same young girls can obtain an abortion, a serious medical procedure that takes the life of a preborn child and poses numerous medical and psychological risks, without their parents even knowing. This defies comprehension.

Since it was allowed to go into effect in 2013, Illinois’s Parental Notice of Abortion law has saved the lives of approximately 1,000 preborn babies each year. By repealing Parental Notice of Abortion, Governor Pritzker not only signed a death warrant for thousands of Illinois babies, he enabled sexual predators to cover their crimes with abortion and told Illinois parents that they don’t matter.

There is no denying that last Thursday and Friday were bad days for preborn babies and their mothers both here in Illinois and across the nation. All hope is not lost, though.

As we’ve detailed over the past few weeks, it is very likely that the U.S. Supreme Court will roll back or even overturn Roe v. Wade in 2022. Here at home, Illinois Right to Life will be working to expose the extremism of the abortion industry in our state as well as those who are using spurious tactics to increase their profits from the heartache of women and the deaths of their children.

Since coming to Illinois, I remind myself almost daily of the words of Winston Churchill: “Never, never, never give up.” 

As pro-lifers, we can never give up. There are too many lives that are depending on us. 2022 will be a huge year for the pro-life movement; we must be prepared to defend the defenseless. Here in Illinois, we need you to take a stand for the preborn and their mothers. 

One of the key ways we will win our state for life is through education: Education about the preborn child, education about the extremity of Illinois abortion law, education about what abortion is doing to our state. I urge you to register as a volunteer, to donate, to talk to your friends about the reality of abortion in our state – that parents know longer need to be informed if their young daughters are having abortions, that abortion clinics regulate themselves, that abortion is legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy.

Take action now! Together we can, and we will, win Illinois for life.

– Amy