A new campaign is seeking to make Irish women aware that a medical abortion can be reversed and the life of their baby saved.
The Second Chance awareness campaign from the Life Institute explains how the effects of the abortion pill can be safely reversed for mother and baby.
"Abortion pill reversal offers women a choice to reverse the effects of the abortion pill," Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute said. "Many women make a decision to undergo abortion in fear and panic. Others are coerced. Women have a right to change their mind and to continue with their pregnancy, and they have a right to know that the effects of taking the first abortion pill can be reverses and baby saved."
Life Institute said that the HSE should inform women that abortion pill reversal was available, so as to ensure that women were fully and properly informed about the abortion process and their own decisions.
Most abortions up to 12 weeks of pregnancy are now carried out using a process commonly called the abortion pill, which involves the ingestion of two tablets.
The first pill, mifepristone, blocks the effects of a natural hormone called progesterone, which is produced by the woman in order to provide the essential nutrients for the developing baby to thrive. By blocking progesterone, the pill aims to starve the baby of nutrients. A second drug, misoprostol, is taken up to 48 hours later, and causes heavy bleeding and cramping to expel the baby’s body.
"Sometimes women, only minutes after taking the first pill, think “this was a mistake. I don’t want to harm my baby”," the Life Institute says. "We seek to ensure that they know they can change their mind and a second chance is available."
The campaign points to the testimony of medical experts and women regarding the abortion pill reversal process.
“The process is safe for both the mother and for her unborn child, and offers a real chance for the woman to rescue her unborn child when she has changed her mind about abortion,” says the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
They point out that “Natural progesterone has been used for over 50 years in the treatment of early pregnancies who are threatening to miscarry”.
The medical organisation also say that "In the extensive medical literature on the use of progesterone in early pregnancy, there are no increased risks of any birth defects with natural progesterone”, they say.
They also note that when abortion pill reversal was successful there “have been no increased risks of birth defects” for baby.
A case series published in the peer-reviewed journal Law & Medicine found that reversing the effects of the abortion pill is successful up to 68% of the time.
Abortion reversal providers say that the goal is to start the protocol within 24 hours of taking the first abortion pill, mifepristone, but note that there have been many successful reversals when treatment was started within 72 hours of taking the first abortion pill.
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