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Dressing up abortion drugs as "missed period pills" another way to prey on women Ben White/Unsplash

Dressing up abortion drugs as "missed period pills" another way to prey on women

Abortion proponents obliquely touting chemical abortion pills as an answer to late menstruation is yet another ploy to push abortion at the expense of women’s health.

“Missed period” remedies as a euphemism for abortifacient drugs or herbal concoctions is nothing new. However, a study recently published in the journal Contraception and accompanying articles in the New York Times and Ms. Magazine covering the study have drawn more public attention to the idea of a “missed period pill” (MPP) to “fix” a late period.

Make no mistake, this fix is an abortifacient. 

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According to the Contraception article, the “missed period pill” would be a uterine evacuation drug or combination of drugs, like mifepristone and misoprostol (which are the two main drugs used in a medical abortion procedure). The true purpose of these drugs are to bring on a period by causing an abortion if a woman is late for her period because of pregnancy

However, to get these pills, women would not have to confirm pregnancy, providing a layer of ambiguity as to whether an abortion happened or not. 

If the true purpose of supplying this drug was simply menstruation management and to help get a cycle back on track by sort of “jump starting” a period, there are other, non-abortifacient means of doing so which have been used for many years already, both chemical and non-chemical.

The study makes clear that there are no such drugs currently available in the U.S., and the women involved in the study were told that. However, such pills are available in other countries. 

While the title of the study, “Exploring potential interest in missed period pills in two US states,” implies the goal was to gauge how interested women would be in access to such pills, there were other, more pointed abortion-related goals of the study, as well. 

The authors specifically state, “A key aim of this study was to assess if missed period pills could alleviate the impact of restrictive social norms and stigma.” 

Coming from abortion advocates this aim is not surprising. 

Marketing abortifacient drugs as missed period pills is a very smart two-pronged approach to increase abortion access and make abortion more socially acceptable by abortion advocates, I must admit. 

One prong is the explicit misinformation and withholding of information to prey on women who are ignorant of pregnancy, specifically and female fertility in general. 

As I can anecdotally attest to with my work at Option Line, there exists a large number of women of all ages and backgrounds who do not know the very basics of menstrual cycles and pregnancy. These are the women who may truly have no idea that the missed period pill they are getting causes an abortion if they are pregnant. 

While for the purposes of the study, the women were specifically told, “If you were pregnant, they [the MPP] would terminate the pregnancy in almost all women,” that is certainly not how the pills are marketed. They are marketed as menstruation management, even in the title of this study; they are not marketed specifically as abortifacients. 

In fact, the study in focus here shows that some women, even after being told in writing that MPPs would terminate a pregnancy, still responded to the open-ended survey questions as if there was a question in how the MPPs would work, using phrases like “to avoid pregnancy” and “prevent pregnancy from developing further.” [emphasis in bold added]

But will doctors or abortion clinic workers be telling women up-front that these pills induce an abortion if you’re late for your period because you’re pregnant? 

How is it fair to innocently ignorant women to shamelessly market explicitly abortifacient drugs as anything but abortifacients? 

Because let’s be real, there is already evidence that abortion providers do not give accurate information about human development, pregnancy, or abortion procedures to women seeking abortion services. These providers are then complicit in keeping this population of women ignorant in order to sell these pills. 

How many of these women, knowing that a MPP will cause an abortion if she is pregnant, would still choose to take one? 

Studies suggest knowing MPP induces abortions would make a significant difference in women’s decisions to take it, but either way they deserve to know explicitly what the medication does before they decide to take it

The second prong of this marketing scheme of MPPs is introducing a layer of moral ambiguity as a way to still make sales despite moral objections to abortion. 

This approach is targeted at women who do understand exactly what the missed period pill is and how it works, but do not like the idea of abortion or would not otherwise get one themselves. 

For these women, marketing the abortifacient drugs as merely menstruation management and making it available without any pregnancy testing puts the pills in a grey area morally — you never checked if you were pregnant, so there’s no way to know for sure any given time you use it if it caused an abortion or not. For women who would otherwise not get an abortion if they did know they were pregnant due to moral or ethical beliefs they hold, this layer of ambiguity can be an appealing selling point. In fact, this selling point is one of the biggest ones all the articles point out. 

Tweet This: Marketing abortifacient drugs as menstruation mgmt. & making them available w/out pregnancy testing puts the pills in a grey moral area

The study highlights a few of the women’s responses, such as:

it would be easier on my emotional well-being to not know I was actually pregnant...

“[The MPPs would mean there was] less moral conflict,” “I wouldn’t feel I am a bad person,” and ‘‘I guess I would feel less guilty of my choice the sooner it could be aborted.”

...having to go through an abortion can sometimes feel ‘wrong’ for lack of a better word...It would be a psychological cushion, in a sense, for those women who may be unsure of their own feelings on abortion, pregnancy and sexual health in general.”

Why is intentionally muddying the moral waters and getting women to act a certain way despite their beliefs a positive thing? 

Because that is certainly how this ambiguity is portrayed — as a good thing, a thing which will benefit women by alleviating stigma. 

In reality, it’s just a way for abortion advocates to try to further the idea that abortion is a morally good and normal choice to increase their sales; there is no real concern for these conflicted women. MPPs are a marketing scheme to directly influence ambivalent women or women who outright do not agree with abortion to go ahead and do something which may go against their beliefs.

How are "missed period pills" empowering to women? Marketing them preys on ignorance and exploits moral ambiguity. 

Tweet This: How are "missed period pills" empowering to women? Marketing them preys on ignorance and exploits moral ambiguity.

Additionally, women who take these pills without exploring why their period is late have not been empowered to be more informed about their body or the numerous other medical resources available to them to address the reason(s) for being late. 

These are real health concerns, not just fear-mongering tactics by anti-choicers. 

What if a woman has undiagnosed PCOS or a thyroid issue? Taking missed period pills does nothing to address her underlying health issue and can delay a diagnosis. What if she is pregnant, and it’s an ectopic pregnancy? Missed period pills will do nothing to treat ectopic pregnancy and will delay diagnosis — which can be life-threatening to a woman! 

And let’s not overlook the fact that the first author of the study, Wendy Sheldon, is on staff at Gynuity Health Projects, the “reproductive and maternal health” group that partners with Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers from which funding for the study in Contraception came. 

Gynuity has a known financial interest in selling abortion medication. 

Gynuity is funded in part by the Packard Foundation, who also funds DANCO labs. And guess what DANCO manufacturers? The abortion pill Mifeprex! 

Gynuity is not only funded by Packard, a known investor in the abortion pill industry; they also partner with the eugenics-based Population Council (which are also funded by Packard — surprise!). 

Gynuity does research on how to expand abortion access, whether that is by sponsoring telemedicine abortion studies or sponsoring second-trimester chemical abortion studies and a host of other abortion-access-expansion studies. Gynuity is currently partnering with abortion provider Carefem to do a trial on the efficacy of MPPs. 

Make no mistake, gauging interest in MPPs in the US has absolutely nothing to do with wanting to “expand reproductive service options” or thinking MPPs could actually “improve the delivery of patient-centered care.” It is about how more money can be made from abortion drugs.

Tweet This: Make no mistake, gauging interest in "missed period pills" in the US is about how more money can be made from abortion drugs.

Women deserve to be able to make informed medical and health decisions. Women deserve to be able to access quality reproductive health care and to have doctors take their concerns about their cycle and their fertility seriously. 

Abortion advocates singing the praises of missed period pills and marketing them as an easy fix to a missed period does absolutely nothing to further women’s quality of health care or empower them to make truly informed decisions about their fertility and family planning. 

Editor's note: Heartbeat International manages Option Line, the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network and Pregnancy Help News.

Petra

A Kansas City native who transplanted to Columbus, OH, in 2014 to attend graduate school at Ohio State University, Petra has her M.S. in chemistry and loves to teach chemistry and biochemistry while geeking out on science-related news. Writer and Editor for the Human Defense Initiative, she is passionate about the pro-life movement and uses her science education and teaching skills to speak up for the most vulnerable humans among us. Follow her on Twitter at @StupidRock.