The Biden administration has launched what they unveiled as an "action plan" in response to the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe versus Wade last week. At the top of the list: increase access to "the abortion pill" in states where abortion is outlawed.
But the dangerous side effects of the abortion pill are rarely reported, and the risks are very real.
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Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra is calling the Supreme Court decision "despicable", and he's vowing to use his power toward "keeping all options on the table." One move is to order federal health agencies to provide the pill if the mother's life is in danger or in cases of rape or incest, even in states outlawing it.
"Medication abortion has been approved by the FDA for years and is safe for patients," Becerra announced at a news conference Tuesday.
This pro-life organization offers a 24/7 hotline and local crisis pregnancy options for anyone facing an unexpected pregnancy.
But Toni McFadden told CBN News a gripping account of her emotional and physical devastation after ending her pregnancy with the abortion pill. She now dedicates her time to pro-life causes, specifically warning others not to use the abortion pill or undergo any other methods of abortion.
"I was afraid that my boyfriend was going to leave me," she said. "I remember him saying to me, 'You don't want to keep it do you?'"
Toni took the abortion pill, which actually involves two separate drugs. The first is mifepristone, which kills the baby by blocking progesterone, a hormone necessary to keep the child alive, followed by misoprostol, a couple of days later, which causes the uterus to contract, forcing the baby out of the mother. The woman is often alone when this happens and is forced to dispose of the baby's body herself.
"I do just remember looking down into the toilet and just thinking like, just being in shock," Toni recalled.
She immediately felt regret.
"The grief of taking the life of your own child," she said, "it changes you."
ABORTION PILL REGRET? Abortion Pill Reversal hotline
In addition to the emotional toll, terrible physical pain began two months later.
"I started getting the most excruciating pains going throughout my entire body, and I went into the bathroom and there were blood clots the size of my fists leaving my body, bleeding for hours," Toni said. "I went through this pretty much all by myself. The boyfriend that I had actually broke up with me during this time as well."
Two years later, a routine medical exam revealed more damage.
"The nurse asked me if I had an abortion before, and I said, 'Yes, why did you ask me that?' And she said because you have scar tissue," Toni recalled.
Complications like Toni's are often never reported.
Tessa Longbons, a senior research associate with the Charlotte Lozier Institute, told CBN News many pro-life advocates refer to the abortion pill, medical abortion, or RU-486 as chemical abortions, and says her organization has discovered the practice is more dangerous than surgical abortions, despite the FDA's pronouncement that it's safe – a claim largely based on incomplete reporting data.
"As many as 95% of all abortion pill complications are not reflected in FDA's data and they don't even collect most data anymore. They only require reporting on deaths," she said.
The FDA approved the abortion pill regimen in 2000 for women who are no more than 11 weeks pregnant. Just last year the FDA dropped the requirement that doctors see patients in person before prescribing it, opening the door to a vast telemedicine abortion expansion in which women can receive the pills in the mail.
"They're pushing for less and less medical oversight, sending the drugs through the mail. This can put women at risk for a ruptured ectopic pregnancy if she hasn't received the proper medical oversight and the proper physical exam before undergoing the abortion," Longbons said. "Incomplete abortions, where pieces of the baby are left inside the woman's uterus, that is a frequent complication with chemical abortion, and that's why we had so many people admitted to the hospital to have to finish these abortions."
Adding to the incomplete data picture surrounding complications from abortion pills, women who are suffering from complications after taking the abortion pill and seek medical attention from places like a hospital emergency department, don't reveal they attempted an abortion, and instead tell doctors they are having a miscarriage. In fact, many abortion advocates advise women who take the abortion pill and later require medical attention from a complication, to do just that.
"We know that induced abortions are not the same as miscarriages," Longbons said. "They should not be treated the same, and women should not be given bad advice not to share this important information with their doctor."
Carolyn McDonnell, J.D., who serves as staff counsel at Americans United for Life, told CBN News the abortion pill is particularly dangerous using telemedicine for a number of reasons, including the inability to determine how many weeks a woman has been pregnant and the inability to determine a woman's blood type.
"If the woman has an Rh-negative blood type, then she needs what's known as a RhoGAM shot. It prevents antibodies that could cause issues for future pregnancies," she said. "These can cause life-threatening anemia in those babies in the future. It may cause her to lose those future pregnancies or future children."
Pro-life attorneys like McDonnell hope to stop providers in states where abortion is legal from prescribing and mailing pills to people in states where it's not.
"When you're seeing there's an inter-state conflict, we're going to have to go back into the courts and see to what extent can we protect life there," she said. "I think most of the legislation across the pro-life board, we never criminalize the woman. The woman is the victim in this scenario."
Instead, they would pursue action against the doctors.
"We would be looking at a state medical board for example and possibly giving them the power through a state statute to revoke the doctor's medical license if he prescribes these abortion-inducing drugs," McDonnell said.
However, that still doesn't prevent foreign doctors, like Dutch physician Rebecca Gomperts, from prescribing the abortion pill online to women in the U.S.
"I will review her case and send my prescription to her and to a pharmacy in India that can fill my prescription and then it sends from India," Gomperts told ABC News. "I am acting according to the medical ethical guidelines and the laws."
The FDA has asked foreign doctors to stop this practice and advises Americans to avoid taking abortion pills from other countries.
In addition to the health risks of telemedicine abortions, potential social perils accompany the practice.
"These drugs can fall into the wrong hands to coerce women into abortions that they don't want," Longbons said. "We've seen multiple accounts of abusive boyfriends, traffickers, getting their hands on these pills and slipping them to women who wanted to keep their pregnancy."
Despite Toni McFadden's devastating experience with medical abortion, she says God redeemed her.
"The same guy that I had the abortion with came back almost nine years later to apologize to me, and less than a year after reconciling I actually became his wife," she said. "We were able to honor our pre-born baby at our wedding, just acknowledging their life."
She details her testimony in the book, Redeemed: My Journey After Abortion
"I'm just very thankful for the redemption that can come even out of suffering," she said.
The Abortion Pill Rescue Network offers a round-the-clock hotline (877-558-0333)
This pro-life organization also offers a 24/7 hotline for women seeking pregnancy assistance.