By Our Reporter
NEW YORK- SHIFTMEDIA- A shocking new investigation reveals how doctors on four continents – supported by US Christian right activists – are providing women with “dangerous” and unproven treatments that claim to ‘reverse’ medical abortions.
A new investigation by global news website openDemocracy (https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/5050/abortion-pill-reversal/) reveals that doctors in Europe, Latin America, North America and Africa are providing women with a controversial ‘abortion pill reversal’ treatment that has not been approved by medical authorities in any of the investigated countries.
The findings indicated that doctors offered prescriptions by phone or email and responded to questions about health risks by claiming the treatment is very safe – or said that women can just go to emergency rooms if they have complications.
Undercover reporters contacted a 24-hour hotline run by US Christian right activists that quickly connected them to local doctors around the world.
The openDemocracy undercover reporters – posing as pregnant women who had taken the first of two pills for a medical abortion. The undercover reporters were onnected to local doctors in South Africa, Armenia, Canada, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico, Portugal, Romania, Spain, the UK, Ukraine and Uruguay.
So-called ‘abortion pill reversal’ treatment appears to have spread globally under regulators’ radar and open Democracy’s findings have led to calls for action from policymakers and women’s health advocates internationally.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists describes abortion ‘reversal’ procedures as “dangerous to women’s health”.
Women’s health and rights activists have called for an urgent investigation by authorities into these findings – which were described as “horrific” – especially during the pandemic when it’s critical for people to trust healthcare providers.
Abortion pill reversal (APR) involves taking high doses of progesterone, a hormone, following the first of two pills used for a medical abortion. Health experts say it is unlikely to ‘reverse’ a medical abortion, and there are also
concerns about using progesterone (in itself not dangerous) for this ‘treatment’.
A US medical trial into APR was halted in 2019 after some participants were sent to the hospital with severe haemorrhaging. The trial’s lead researcher said it was stopped because “It wasn’t safe for me to expose women to this treatment.”
The US hotline our reporters contacted is run by the ultra-conservative Christian right group Heartbeat International. Last year, openDemocracy revealed Heartbeat’s links to anti-abortion projects around the world that use misinformation in their efforts to discourage women from ending their pregnancies under any circumstances.
● In 12 countries, these reporters were connected to local doctors who were
willing to provide prescriptions: Armenia, Canada, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico,
Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Spain, the UK, Ukraine and Uruguay.
● In four countries (Belgium, Croatia, Germany and Russia), US-based nurses
sent the reporters dosage instructions and told them to try to get prescriptions
at local hospitals, clinics or pharmacies.
● Only in two countries (Chile and Serbia) were local contacts unwilling to help
women take this ‘treatment’, calling it unproven and possibly unsafe.
● In Nigeria and Uganda, reporters were emailed dosage instructions and
referred to local anti-abortion groups for help in accessing the medication.
● Once live, our investigation will be online at:
● Prior to publication, openDemocracy can share with interested
journalists more details from any of the above-mentioned countries, as
well as reaction we’ve received from health experts and MPs.