No, It’s Not Medically Possible to ‘Reverse’ Abortions

Author Marc Hodges

Posted Mar 6, 2023

Reads 5.7K

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You've heard the myth of reverse abortions, but is there any solid science backing up this claim? A recent study aiming to test the effectiveness of a so-called abortion reversal procedure was halted after three women experienced severe bleeding. The medical abortion midway through the study involved taking mifepristone followed by a placebo or progesterone. While some oppose abortion, the claim that an effective reversal procedure exists remains unproven.

The hormone progesterone is essential for sustaining pregnancy, which led some anti-abortion groups to propose that it could be used to reverse a medical abortion. However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) doesn't recommend attempting to reverse a medical abortion. Medical abortions involve taking two pills: mifepristone and misoprostol. After taking mifepristone, misoprostol causes contractions that expel the pregnancy. There's no solid proof that an abortion can be reversed with medication once mifepristone has been taken. Despite this lack of evidence, legislators have proposed legislation requiring abortion providers to inform patients seeking abortions that an unproven reversal protocol exists and requires providers to search online for "abortion pill reversal." Dr Creinin opposes these laws, arguing they force experimental treatment on patients without their consent and promote unproven claims. In short, there's no medical evidence supporting the so-called option of reversing a medical abortion using progesterone or any other method. Ultimately, patients seeking the safest care possible should work with their healthcare provider to make informed decisions about their health rather than relying on unproven claims or experimental treatments.

Understanding the Process of a Medical Abortion

A medical abortion, also known as a medication abortion, involves taking two pills to end a pregnancy. The first pill, called mifepristone or RU-486, binds to the progesterone receptors in the body and blocks progesterone's action. This hormone is necessary for the pregnancy to continue because it helps the uterus receive nourishment and maintain the uterine lining. By blocking progesterone's action, mifepristone thins out the uterine lining and makes it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant itself.

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After taking mifepristone, patients are given a second pill called misoprostol. This pill will cause the uterus to contract and expel the contents of the pregnancy. The entire abortion regimen has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 2016 for pregnancies up to 10 weeks gestation.

Compared to surgical abortion, medical abortion is incredibly safe with few major medical complications. In fact, Dr. Grossman points out that our bodies make extra doses of these hormones every day during our menstrual cycles without any problems. Despite myths perpetuated by anti-choice organizations about "reverse abortions," there is no evidence that any treatment can reverse or stop a medication abortion once it has started.

Medical Abortion: The Science Behind the Abortion Pill

Medical abortion, also known as the abortion pill, is a safe and effective way to end an unwanted pregnancy. The process involves taking two different medications - mifepristone and misoprostol - under medical supervision. Current law allows for medical abortion up to 10 weeks of gestation.

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FDA regulations require that women receive misoprostol within 24-48 hours after taking mifepristone. Mifepristone blocks the pregnancy hormone progesterone, which is essential for maintaining the uterine wall lining during pregnancy. Misoprostol causes contractions in the uterus, leading to the expulsion of the pregnancy. Medical abortion has a success rate of over 95%, and side effects are usually mild and can be managed with medication.

Risks and Hazards of Abortion Reversal Laws: A Closer Look

Abortion reversal laws have become a hot topic in recent years, but what are the risks and hazards associated with these controversial measures? According to Elizabeth Nash, Senior State Issues Manager at the Guttmacher Institute, abortion reversal laws are essentially legislators attempting to influence patients' decisions. While some states propose bills that require physicians to inform their patients about the possibility of an abortion reversal, others go further and mandate medical treatment that is completely unproven and potentially dangerous.

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Dr. Harris and Dr. Grossman have both spoken out against recent bills attempting to require physicians to re-implant ectopic pregnancies or offer an "abortion reversal" pill. They explain that it is biologically impossible to re-implant an ectopic pregnancy, and there is no evidence that the "abortion reversal" pill actually works. In fact, the requirement Dr. Harris mentions could make it increasingly hard for people seeking abortion care to find a qualified provider.

The complicated reality of buying abortion pills online only adds another layer of risk to this situation. With 6 myths surrounding medical abortion circulating online and 11 questions about the abortion pill answered by experts on Planned Parenthood's website, reproductive advocates worry that people seeking abortion may be misled into trying untested methods like "abortion reversal." It is crucial for lawmakers and medical professionals alike to understand the poorest quality evidence behind these claims before putting lives in danger with legislation based on ideology rather than science.

Is Abortion Reversal Possible? Exploring Options

Many anti-abortion doctors and pregnancy resource centers claim that abortion reversal is possible. They argue that by giving women an initial dose of progesterone, it is possible to successfully reverse the effects of the abortion pill. However, this claim isn't scientifically proven and has been debunked by various medical organizations like the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecology (ACOG).

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In 2018, an anti-abortion doctor published a study claiming that he successfully reversed the effects of the abortion pill on several women. However, this study was widely criticized for its lack of scientific rigor and reliance on junk science. ACOG also released a statement pointing out that there is no reliable scientific data to support the use of progesterone in abortion reversal. While some anecdotal evidence suggests progesterone may be effective in reversing abortions, this remains unproven, and there are potential risks associated with using it - including birth defects in babies who do survive. In conclusion, while crisis pregnancy centers may offer abortion reversal as an option, it's important to note that without scientific proof, it's just not a viable option to consider when making decisions about reproductive health.

1. What if I’m thinking about trying an abortion reversal?

If you are considering an abortion reversal, it is important to take a step back and evaluate your feelings. There may be uncomfortable feelings surrounding your decision to have an abortion, but it's important to prioritize your own well-being and what is best for you. While some anti-choice groups recommend attempting an abortion reversal, medical professionals do not recommend this procedure as it is not scientifically proven to work.

If you're feeling unsure or overwhelmed about your pregnancy options, there are resources available to provide support. The All-Options Talk Line (1-888-493-0092) offers non-judgmental support and guidance throughout the entire process. It's easy to remember their hours: Monday-Friday 10am-1am and Saturday-Sunday 10am-6pm. Remember that the decision to have an abortion is ultimately up to the pregnant person, and they deserve time and space to make the best decision for themselves. If you're experiencing pressure from a partner or family member, it may be helpful to seek out support from a trained advocate through phone or text at or schedule a safety visit with a healthcare provider who can help identify signs of reproductive coercion.

2. Austin Women’s Health Center is here for you…

Austin Women’s Health Center is here for you, especially in light of the myth of reverse abortions. As a trusted healthcare provider, we want to make sure that our patients have access to accurate information and compassionate care. People don't regret their decision to have an abortion, and lawmakers shouldn't be allowed to pass laws that require doctors to offer an "abortion reversal" procedure that doesn't work.

At Austin Women's Health Center, we believe that every person should feel supported throughout their reproductive journey. We understand that having an abortion can be a difficult decision, which is why we offer counseling sessions you'll find helpful in addressing any unresolved feelings or concerns you may have. Our team is committed to providing compassionate care in a safe and welcoming environment where you can feel free to express yourself without judgment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a social identity model of collective action?

Yes, there is a social identity model of collective action, which proposes that people are more likely to participate in collective action when they identify with a group and perceive injustice or inequality against the group.

Can 'abortion pill reversal' stop a medication-based abortion?

Yes, the abortion pill reversal procedure can potentially stop a medication-based abortion if it is administered early enough in the process, but the effectiveness and safety of this procedure are disputed by medical professionals.

Are free riders a problem for collective action efforts?

Yes, free riders can be a problem for collective action efforts because they benefit from the efforts of others without contributing, which can lead to a lack of motivation and decreased participation from those who are contributing.

What was Mancur Olson's theory of collective action?

Mancur Olson's theory of collective action suggests that individuals are unlikely to work together in groups for the common good unless there is a selective incentive or a small group with a concentrated interest.

What is collective action?

Collective action refers to a group of people working together towards a common goal or purpose. It can involve protests, strikes, or other forms of organized action aimed at achieving social or political change.

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Marc Hodges

Writer at RHTB

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Marc Hodges is an experienced blogger and writer. He has a passion for sharing his thoughts on various topics, including technology, lifestyle, and personal development. Marc believes in the power of writing to inspire positive change and growth.

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