Doctors, Nurses, Pastors, Attorney, and Other Women's Health Advocates Testify Before St. Joseph County Council

By St. Joseph County Right to Life | December 7, 2018, 8:27am

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — On Tuesday, December 5, 31 individuals joined St. Joseph County Right to Life to express concerns before the St. Joseph County Council regarding threats to the health and safety of women that are likely to arise if a new abortion facility makes its way into town.


Among this group were nine doctors, three nurses, four pastors, an attorney, and several other women’s health advocates. Together, they gave over two hours of testimony.


Given the current threat of a chemical-only abortion facility seeking a license to operate in South Bend, a major topic of conversation Tuesday focused on the dangers that chemical abortion would present.


Although the drug regimen used in chemical abortions, consisting of mifepristone and misoprostol, has been approved by the FDA, the circumstances by which this approval came about are extremely suspect. As advocates shared with the council on Tuesday evening, standard safety regulations for higher-risk drugs were waived after they were protested, and the drug was not tested on minors, even though it is widely used on children under the age of 18. Further, the few clinical trials that were considered were not blinded, randomized, and did not include a control group.


Among other complications, hemorrhaging, infection, and incomplete expulsion of the fetus can present serious risks in a chemical abortion. As local doctors shared on Tuesday evening, these complications often lead to the need for emergency care at hospitals. One doctor referred to a case a colleague treated in a local ER just a couple of weeks ago of a woman who had gone to Chicago for a chemical abortion. After consulting with her doctor following the abortion’s failure, a surgical abortion was recommended. However, undergoing profuse bleeding and in a lot of pain, the woman presented in the local ER before that could happen.


Although complications rates for chemical abortion are not well-defined for the time being, doctors take instances like this as an indication of what the medical community would face regularly if a new chemical abortion facility opens in town. This is especially likely in the case of the pending Whole Woman’s Health facility, given that it would not be licensed to care for women when surgical intervention becomes necessary.


As such, a potential chemical abortion facility would place a substantial burden on the existing medical community, which would be charged with playing “clean-up” if a new abortion facility is unable to provide follow-up care. This is concerning on the level of medical institutions, but most importantly on the level of the woman, whose care may suffer.  


In addition to strong commentary on the burdens which a future abortion clinic will place on both the medical community and on the health and safety of women, other advocates were not shy about pointing out questionable ulterior motives behind the current threat. For instance, the organization has expressly stated its intent to move into states which it considers to be “hostile” to so-called reproductive rights, with the intent of challenging existing laws. It has a history of doing so all the way up to the Supreme Court.

Pastors also expressed concerns with the space the organization hopes to operate in, given its location. Given the rates of abortions in minority populations across the country, these pastors asserted that there is no coincidence behind the organization’s choice to opt for a location that is central to minority and lower-income populations.


Whether we face the opening of a new Whole Woman’s Health facility or any other future abortion clinic, this group of testifiers let the council know on Tuesday the negative impact that this will bring in burdening women, local medical centers, and the surrounding community if a threat like this becomes a reality.


For now, our request is simple: we urge the council to consider all of the facts in earnest and seek to do anything in its power to protect the health and safety of women in the face of current and future threats.