Warning: This article includes graphic descriptions of chemical abortion.
The chemical abortion pill, marketed as Mifeprex and referred to as a medication abortion, is the future of the abortion industry. The number of chemical abortions in America has increased dramatically while the overall tally of abortions has declined.
Those who advocate for and provide this abortion drug almost always downplay the excruciating process that awaits unsuspecting women, doing a grave disservice to them.
Tammi Morris was no stranger to abortion. She had previously had seven of them, so when an abortion provider told her the chemical abortion process would be “safe, near painless, and private,” she agreed to use it. Shortly after taking the second dose of pills, however, Tammi realized it wouldn’t be anything like what the abortion center staff had described.
“They didn’t prepare me for this,” Tammi said. Instead, what she endured was an experience she described as “savage” and “horrific.” She found herself alone, “feeling like I was going to give birth to death.” Profuse bleeding forced Tammi to seek medical intervention.
Elizabeth Gillette’s experience with the abortion drug was similarly traumatizing. In her case, the falsehoods exceeded the abortion staff’s mischaracterization of the drug’s effects. Elizabeth told them she was undecided about the abortion and wanted to view the ultrasound. At first, she was rebuffed, but Elizabeth persisted.
A staff member finally showed her a still shot of the monitor, saying, “Do you see? There’s no heartbeat. There’s no movement. Your pregnancy’s not viable.” Elizabeth said the facility had lied to her in an attempt to tip the scale of her uncertainty about the abortion.
“No one counseled me. No one told me what the options were.” As for the abortion process, Elizabeth says she was told, “You’ll experience some light cramping. It’ll be like a heavy period. Shouldn’t hurt.”
Elizabeth confessed, “I had no idea what was coming. No idea.” The cramping was “deep and very painful. I’ve had three children since then, and it felt like labor.”
The physical ordeals of these women were just the beginning of more horrors to come. Common to Tammi and Elizabeth’s experience during their chemical abortions, facilities send women home to abort alone, with no one to shield them from what they will see and feel.
Numerous medical experts understand the added physical and emotional trauma inflicted by chemical abortion. OB-GYN Donna Harrison likened the process, which is four times more likely to require medical intervention afterward than a surgical abortion, to “almost patient abandonment.” She sees the irony in feminists demanding safe, legal abortion while “pushing a chemical coat hanger on women.”
During her chemical abortion — really an induced miscarriage — Tammi felt the urge to push and then looked down. What she saw left her devastated. “There was my baby, in a toilet. This wasn’t fetal tissue. This was a formed, recognizable, undeniable baby. My baby.”
Through tears, Elizabeth also described coming face to face with her unborn son. “I held him. The doctor promised me that I would feel relieved.” But what Elizabeth described wasn’t relief. Instead she felt an “overwhelming guilt, a sickness inside that I couldn’t put away. Nightmares started shortly after. I stopped eating. I became anorexic. I was later diagnosed with acute post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Tammi and Elizabeth then faced the struggle of daily emotional turmoil enveloping their lives as a result of what they had done and seen.
“How does a mother who killed her own child in the womb intentionally, how does she grieve outwardly?” Tammi questioned.
Elizabeth felt a burning passion to warn other women. When facing a second unexpected pregnancy, she made a video that quickly became popular, encouraging other women to persevere. “Hiding in the silence is just your own personal death sentence. But when you stand up and say enough is enough. This hurt me and it’s hurting women everywhere, it set me free.”
“Our society is breeding fear,” Elizabeth said. “We tell our women to go out and get a job and be everything you can be, except being a mom. And that’s a lie.” To her, abortion is “a regret you can’t reconcile. It’s forever.”
Grassroots organizations and people who have seen or experienced these devastating effects are making an effort to give a voice to women who have been physically or emotionally harmed by chemical abortion. They’ve created a safe, confidential place women can go to tell their stories about their experience. Sharing can often be therapeutic.
The landscape of the abortion debate was altered during the 1980s when women who had experienced abortion and its aftermath came forward to tell their stories. By speaking out, the victims of chemical abortion can spare countless other women and their babies from enduring a similar tragedy.
Bradley Mattes is president of Life Issues Institute, the pro-life grassroots partner of the Susan B. Anthony List Education Fund. Follow him on Twitter @BradMattes.