The 11 or so months so far that he has been able to help mothers save their babies through Abortion Pill Reversal has been the most fulfilling thing in a more than 30-year career in medicine, Dr. Dermot Kearney said. And despite some anguish that came with pioneering access to reversal for UK women, it’s been worth it.
Kearney reaffirms that this was the right thing to do, and both he and his wife believe God has brought them to a different place since his journey with APR began.
There has been both joy and heartache in being one of two physicians in the UK to officially provide Abortion Pill Reversal (APR), he said.
The obvious joy - saving lives; the heartache - not being able to save them all. For some the reversal process is not successful – but there have also been many since last May that Kearney and his colleague in Scotland Dr. Eileen Reilly were not allowed to help because of being banned from doing so.
Thirty-two babies were born in under a year owing to Kearney and Reilly providing APR, the two being on-call around the clock for women during that time as sole reversal providers in the UK, which has a population of 67 million.
These 32 lives were saved amid an even more pervasive abortion climate than the U.S., significantly less APR awareness, and more brazen attacks from abortion proponents.
Kearney was restricted from providing APR to patients by the UK’s General Medical Council in May 2021 following complaints from a handful of abortion providers and supporters there. While the various allegations of impropriety weren’t substantiated, he faced an administrative process over the next nine months. Reilly was similarly restricted.
UK women continued to contact the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network (APRN) for help reversing their chemical abortions during the time Kearney and Reilly have been restricted from providing APR, and they’ve had to be informed that the doctors were not allowed to prescribe the treatment.
A hearing before the court would have necessitated providing evidence to substantiate the charges, and thus in the absence of this the GMC dropped the investigation against Kearney in February. Afterward he planned to make arrangements to begin providing APR again. At that time Reilly’s charges were still pending.
APR is an updated application of a decades-old treatment to prevent miscarriage. It involves prescribing a bioidentical version of progesterone, the natural hormone in a woman’s body necessary to sustain pregnancy, counteracting the first drug in the two-drug chemical abortion regimen.
The APRN is managed by Heartbeat International, the world’s largest network of pregnancy help organizations (PHOs) and consists of roughly 1,000 medical professionals and PHOs who assist women 24/7. Providers get women set up with progesterone as quickly as possible and then arrange for ongoing prenatal care. To date, statistics show that more than 3,000 lives have been save thanks to APR.
APR provides a life-affirming antidote to chemical abortion, and abortion proponents attempt to denigrate it as unscientific and dangerous.
“They didn’t like what we were doing,” Kearney said.
The abortion proponents who brought the complaints against them may have provided a favor in terms of raising APR awareness because of the notice it has generated, and Kearney’s prevailing in the matter should have implications for encouraging potential APR providers in other British commonwealth countries.
He doesn’t believe this will be the last attempt to quash APR, citing Matthew 10:16 on the need to be as wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
“We know that this is not the end of the story,” Kearney said. “It would be nice to think it was. But you know, it's only one chapter in an ongoing spiritual battle.”
Kearney and his wife Mary spoke with Pregnancy Help News just after the restrictions were lifted while he was in the U.S. to present on his experience at a medical conference for the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) and the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds).
“Eileen and I discussed this on several locations,” Kearney said, “and we both agreed that despite the (reversal) failures and the heartache (of being told to stop providing APR) that it was the most rewarding thing in medicine that either of us had ever done.”
They knew the women who came to them could not find the treatment elsewhere.
“We knew that they deeply, greatly appreciated every effort you made,” Kearney told Pregnancy Help News, “even the times when it didn't work. And even the times when they didn't even go through with the treatment, they contacted us a few days later to thank us and to inform us of the regret that they now had, that they didn't do what they had initially hoped that they might.”
Not one of the women Kearney assisted with APR has spoken negatively of him or his treatment of them, despite pro-abortion efforts to procure such statements.
On the contrary, numerous women, some with successful reversals, some whose reversals were sadly unsuccessful, and some who opted not to pursue reversal, agreed to testify on his behalf, offering positive accounts of his care and compassion.
Kearney said he was unaware of the depth of gratitude until he saw their witness statements.
Tweet This: Numerous women agreed to testify on Dr. Kearney's behalf, offering positive accounts of his care and compassion.
“It was only when I later read the witness statements that were obtained by the legal team,” he told Christian Concern “I was in tears reading some of the testimonies that these girls gave. Because while I knew they were appreciative I just didn’t realize the enormity of it until then.”
While Kearney was prepared to provide justification for prescribing APR he was not expecting to be subjected to disciplinary proceedings, so it came as a major surprise.
“It was certainly upsetting that people would go to this length to try and prevent us doing something that we knew to be good and right, proper and just,” he said, noting how women can get abortion easily and at no cost in the UK, while these abortion entities endeavored to suppress access to reversal.
The ordeal of facing hearings, restrictions, and possible threat to his medical license was something his wife Mary endured alongside him.
While they didn’t meet the mothers in the APR treatment process, they both reacted to their need much like parents would.
Mary Kearney was also invested in the moms getting the help they needed wherever they were in the process.
“She appreciated the importance of it,” Kearney said. “Oh yeah. Even though she wasn't directly involved, she was very much involved, emotionally, because she knew that this was something that was very important.”
The inquiries often came after hours, resulting in their evening and weekend routines dovetailing into intense searches for pharmacies that were open in proximity to the women, not always an easy or feasible thing.
“So eventually you become very emotionally involved in that a little bit,” Mary Kearney said, “because you knew by the sounds he was making, by the look on his face that, that he had just checked that area, and after six pharmacies, none of them opened after eight o'clock at night.”
“There was this anxiousness that if we don't work fast, quick, quick, you know?” she added.
Even when pharmacies were open later there would be a rush to get the full, correct information to them, often via email, in time.
“There was a lot of tension around that because you knew that if you didn't get this by the time it closed, nothing could happen until the following morning,” she said. “So, you were going through it with him. Every step.”
“I actually felt in a lot of cases like those girls were my children, I was their mother,” she said. “Like it kind of felt like you were a foster mother to them, even though you’ve never met them.”
When Kearney was hospitalized with COVID for a week he had Mary monitor his phone should any inquiries come in so they could be connected to Reilly in the interim.
And while it was a sacrifice at times to have their home life and schedule affected - Kearney sometimes outside of Mass on his phone looking for an open pharmacy on Sunday morning - Mary was committed to it along with him.
“In your mind you'd be saying, well, God certainly prefers you to be helping this baby survive,” said Mary.
This was fundamentally more of a challenge for her.
“Because I do love order and I don't like to break rules,” she said.
Mary also helped in any way she could throughout the time of restriction on his practice as Kearney prepared his defense, often a meticulous process.
Where Kearney was shocked and a little upset by the charges, Mary felt, “absolute shock and panic. Like you were frozen.”
She was “very human about it” at the time, she said, panicking over the mortgage and other living costs.
Mary found herself going back and forth, from the worst thoughts to her husband assuring he could counter the charges.
“And you are constantly swinging all the time from, ‘There's an answer to everything,’ all the way to full suspension,” she said. “And some days you went through the whole thing every single day and you just had to sit patiently waiting for the next thing.”
“And there was nothing you could do,” she said. “So that was nerve wracking.”
She would do things like check into selling their home if they had to, or she looked around for work.
Mary considered this being practical, endeavoring to do what was necessary to keep a roof over their heads, but she wasn’t above waking up in the middle of the night concerned over specifics.
Then God got hold of her, she said, and she came to realize it did no good to worry so over something she could not control.
“And then somewhere down the line, God kind of just let me see,” Mary said. “I didn't have the details sorted, but I knew enough to know; forget about it. It doesn't matter. It might never happen.”
From there she trusted that it was in God’s hands.
Coinciding with lockdowns from the coronavirus pandemic, Mary used the time to foster her prayer life, stepping up regular devotions throughout each day.
“I was going to get up as if every day is a day to glorify God,” she said. “So, I ended up having a discipline today in a way I never would've been able to before.”
“I think if you look at, definitely me, at the beginning when this happened and now, I'm a different person,” Mary Kearney told Pregnancy Help News. “I'm far more accepting of things. I don't worry about things at all.”
“I feel, you know, God, will take care of absolutely everything,” she said. “And I say that constantly; “God, I'm giving this to you. You take care of it. Just let me know what you want me to do. Like however you want to use me in it. I'm listening. Tell me, but I know you've got it.”
Tweet This: "God, will take care of absolutely everything”
Mary believes both she and her husband are in a better place since all of this started, and that their relationship is as well.
Kearney concurred. He said that he never really thought he would lose his license because the allegations had no evidence behind them. -But he also knew that the forces behind the charges were “capable of lots of mischief, twisting the truth, deceit and lies.”
“We knew that they were capable of all those things,” Kearney told Pregnancy Help News. “But at the end of the day, we had hoped that there was an element of justice, that justice would prevail, and if the truth were to be revealed, then the truth was very much in our side.”
Kearney looks forward to continuing to provide Abortion Pill Reversal and raising awareness for the protocol.