Thanks to a sidewalk counselor outside an abortion clinic, a pregnant woman who’d already taken the first medication to have a chemical abortion is now the proud mother of twins. These babies are two of an estimated 750 lives that have been saved through abortion pill reversal, a process that’s gaining more awareness.
“Alexis” visited the busiest abortion facility in Charlotte, North Carolina, last year, intending to end her early pregnancy. She received the first drug to start the abortion but left the clinic grappling with news that the ultrasound technician had seen twins, something Alexis had always wanted.
After the sidewalk counselor informed Alexis it might not be too late to change her mind, she did a quick online search, called a helpline, and began the reversal protocol. Courtney Parks, a coordinator with HELP Pregnancy Center, arranged an ultrasound so Alexis could see the babies for herself. Then she set up prenatal care for the woman and coordinated a baby shower to provide for the twins’ needs.
Time Is Crucial with Abortion Pill Reversal
Although many people assume taking an abortion pill is final, there’s about a 72-hour window to try to reverse the process with progesterone. Abortion pill reversal (APR), which is supported by the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, has about a 65 percent success rate.
The abortion pill, or RU-486, involves two medications: The first, mifepristone, blocks progesterone to destabilize a pregnancy. The second, misoprostol, is taken 48 hours later to induce labor and complete the abortion. When a woman takes extra progesterone soon after taking mifepristone, that hormone can often outcompete—and reverse—the abortion pill. Even if a woman doesn’t take progesterone, the pregnancy may still remain viable if she doesn’t take the second-step medication.
Mifepristone doesn’t increase the odds of birth defects, and progesterone has been used safely in pregnant women for more than 40 years.
Abortion Pill Rescue, a program of Heartbeat International, offers a helpline and a network of professionals to assist women who’ve changed their minds after taking the initial abortion medication. They also connect women with resources they need for pregnancy and parenthood.
Awareness of Abortion Pill Reversal Is Spreading
Parks reports that Alexis felt overwhelmed by the kindness, the donations, and by God’s provision. “She’s just head over heels in love with these babies,” Parks says of the new mother and her twins.
Through Parks’ clinic, four babies have now been saved through APR, and she and other staff members are excited by increased awareness of the reversal. APR was developed more than a decade ago by Dr. Matt Harrison and Dr. George Delgado.
“Nobody walks into an abortion clinic because they just felt like it’s a good day for an abortion,” Parks says. “Something drives these women to an abortion clinic, whether it’s not having a job or not having housing or an abusive situation with the father of the baby or whatever it might be. They need support, they need somebody to walk with them through their pregnancy to make sure that they have needs met.”