abortion regret

San Diego-based doctor developed way to reverse abortion pill’s effects; more than six babies saved due to emerging medical procedure.

SAN DIEGO – Cynthia Roe* was 19 when she found out she was pregnant. Deciding she was too young and inexperienced to have a baby, she went to a local clinic and got the abortion pill to end her pregnancy.

Cynthia told The College Fix that she believed taking RU-486, a two-part medical abortion in which patients take one pill to kill the fetus and a second pill two days later to expel the body – would help her take “control” of her body and uncomplicate her life.

But after she popped the first deadly pill, she says her feelings changed, that she made a huge mistake and the life of her child was on the brink.

“I felt so guilty,” Cynthia said. “I didn’t know what to do.”

So Cynthia turned to her mother, and her mother took her to see Dr. George Delgado, medical director of Culture of Life Family Services, a San Diego-based pro-life Catholic medical organization.

How did it turn out? In 2010, Cynthia was desperate to reverse the attempt to abort her child. Today, she’s the proud mom of a healthy 2-and-a-half-year-old son, and a political science major at San Diego State University.

Dr. Delgado, a general practitioner who is board certified in family medicine and hospice care and serves as a voluntary clinical professor at the private, Catholic University of San Diego, is one of only a few doctors in the world to have successfully reversed medical abortions after they’ve begun. Cynthia was one of his first patients.

A medical abortion is an alternative and non-surgical method of abortion that uses a two-step pharmaceutical process. Between ingesting mifepristone (RU-486), a drug that kills the embryo, and misoprostol, a drug that expels the dead baby from the mother’s body, Delgado uses injections of the pregnancy hormone progesterone as an “antidote” against the abortion drug.

Once a sonogram confirms the baby is still alive, Delgado injects a pregnant woman with progesterone, giving the mifepristone less of a chance of starving the embryo of essential nutrients.

“Our attempt to give the progesterone is to out-compete the mifepristone so the chance of an abortion is minimized,” Delgado told The College Fix.

Debbie Bradel, the abortion pill reversal coordinator at Culture of Life Family Services, told The College Fix in a recent interview that six healthy children have been born due to reversing the medical abortions and currently 19 women are still pregnant after receiving Delgado’s treatment.

All of these women plan to raise their children, as opposed to placing them up for adoption, Brandel said.

RU-486 has been available in America since 2000. By 2008, one-quarter of abortions prior to nine weeks of gestational age were accomplished with the abortion pill, roughly 200,000 a year, according to Delgado’s research.

Most women choose to reverse their abortion after a realization that it is not just an embryo they are pregnant with, but a child, their child, Bradel said.

She added that by terminating a pregnancy through a medical abortion rather than a surgical abortion, the impact on the mother can sometimes be much more difficult and could prompt her to seek its reversal. She said that’s because a medical abortion is begun by the mother taking a pill – not by an abortionist who performs the termination in a hospital – thus there is much more room for regret.

The women who seek abortion reversal often have concerns that their child will be born with defects.

Delgado, however, said he has found that the children born when the mother only ingested the first drug of the medical abortion, mifepristone, will be healthy. Research shows that it is when the mother ingests both drugs of the medical abortion, the child is at risk of having defects, he said.

Delgado’s procedure is unsuccessful approximately 8 to 10 percent of the time with the potential of requiring an additional surgical abortion procedure to complete the termination, according to his website.

Since January of this year, the reversal method has really taken off and currently Delgado is strengthening a network of over 60 pro-life doctors who are able to perform abortion reversals.

Delgado has even had patients from Poland, Australia and South Africa and has assisted doctors in those countries to reverse medical abortions.

“I would hope that people who consider themselves pro-choice, would give a woman the choice to change her mind,” Delgado said.

A 60-minute presentation on Delgado’s procedure is available on his website. Click here to view the video.

Fix contributor Emma Colton is a student at The College of New Jersey.

Cynthia Roe* – Her last name has been changed to protect her privacy.

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As Americans today mark the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, college junior Tianna Spears is busy prepping to re-launch the Beautiful Pain Movement, a secular campus outreach program that helps students heal from abortion trauma.

Spears, 20, a business major at North Carolina State, founded the campus group after she helped a close friend through the emotional after-effects of an abortion, noting on her blog that “I saw her pain, heard it in her voice, saw it accumulate and drip from her eyes.”

“I saw how she struggled,” Spears said in an interview with The College Fix. “She would go for counseling, but they would be really religious or pro-life. That really encouraged me to make the group not affiliated with anything.”

The Beautiful Pain Movement is apolitical and non-religious. It fashions itself as “a loving community of understanding and acceptance among people who have experienced the same thing.” Its slogan? “Come as you are.”

The group, founded in September, will launch its latest five-week session Wednesday, the day after the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision. An estimated 55 million abortions have occurred since that ruling.

While many feminists and staunch pro-choice advocates often insist there’s no real harm or mental or psychological after-effects from an abortion, Spears’ personal experience through her friend indicates there can be emotional scarring.

The most commonly discussed emotions are guilt, regret and denial, she said. For the men, they felt like they had not done enough, and some were denied a voice when it came time to make the decision, she said. That’s where the group comes in, offering empathetic support.

“As a whole, a society, we are supposed to be strong, but handle our pain in private, behind closed doors, and bury our skeletons in the closet,” Spears blogged recently. “I disagree. People need people to get through difficult situations, no matter what the circumstances may be.”

That comfort is especially vital given the lack of counseling available for women after an abortion, Spears said. While women are scheduled for a follow-up medical appointment to make sure the pregnancy has cleared, there’s no support provided for the emotional turmoil that may follow, she said.

Outside the context of a person being for or against abortion, Spears said most mainstream discourse about abortion doesn’t come close to touching on what her group tackles.

She said she intends for the sessions to be a safe, open place where participants can share how they have been affected by abortion, and through the support of peers, determine their own steps to find peace with what happened.

By hosting the sessions on NC State’s campus, Spears said she hopes more students will come – though the group is open to all, students and non-students alike. As an official on-campus organization, Spears has received support from the university as well.

And that support comes at a crucial time.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a think-tank which compiles statistics on reproduction, abortions have been on the rise since 2008. Prior to that, they were on the decline. Suggestions have been made that the increase could be due to the recent recession.

In fact, Spears said finances have played a part in participants’ reasoning for getting an abortion, though she is careful to point out that it is not the only reason. She also cites lack of support and pressure from boyfriends or parents as indicated reasons for abortions among group members.

Spears said she hopes to further develop the Beautiful Pain Movement, with plans to file for recognition as a non-profit by May 2014. Further information can be found at the group’s website: thebeautifulpainmovement.org.

Fix contributor Jessica Kubusch is a student at UNC Chapel Hill.

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IMAGE: Dyanna Hyde/Flickr