Cecile Richards may have stepped down recently from her perch as CEO and president of Planned Parenthood, but that hasn’t slowed her efforts to peddle abortion-related safety myths — especially to her base.
Richards, who in her role as head of the organization oversaw more than 3.5 million abortions over a 12-year period at Planned Parenthood, according to LifeSiteNews, is peeved: Conservatives, buoyed by the Trump administration, are aiming to roll back abortion rights — and succeeding.
Last month’s refusal by the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal by Planned Parenthood to an Arkansas law that bans medication abortion spurred Richards’ recent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times.
For all intents and purposes, “medical abortion” means terminating the lives of unborn children by simply swallowing a pill called RU-486.
“There is no medical or health reason for this ban on medication abortion,” Richards shrilled in her op-ed. “Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000, non-invasive medication abortion is safe by all measures — safer than Tylenol and Viagra, even. That’s why many women choose it over surgical abortion, which is already one of the safest medical procedures.”
Wait. “Safer than Tylenol?”
“The claim that medical abortion is safer than Tylenol is just plainly a lie,” Dr. Donna J. Harrison, executive director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), based in Eau Claire, Michigan, told LifeZette. “And what is even more heinous is that medical abortions are being pushed on poor and rural women, who don’t have access to emergency treatments. Those women are much more likely to die as a result.”
Research shows the exact opposite of what Richards is trying to pawn off on women as trusted fact.
“In brief, medical abortions have four times [the] risk of serious complications than surgical abortions,” noted Harrison, citing a study of some 42,000 abortion patients, in which 50 percent of the patients underwent surgical abortions, while the other 50 percent had medical abortions.
The FDA says that at least 22 women have died from using mifepristone, the ingredient found in the abortion medication; thousands of women have been harmed since its release 18 years ago.
In an aim to beef up her op-ed, Richards referenced the support of one medical group in particular.
“The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists [ACOG] said the new requirement ‘does nothing to enhance the quality or safety of abortion care, and in fact creates a grave risk to public health,'” Richards wrote. “It’s for this reason that Planned Parenthood is continuing to fight the Arkansas law, doing everything possible to protect patients’ access to care as the case proceeds.”
Again, Harrison set the record straight.
“ACOG is a pro-abortion activist organization, as stated by the group’s own documents,” she emphasized to LifeZette on Friday. “ACOG’s leadership is dedicated to advancing abortion rights, and thus they are out of step with the 85 percent of their members who do not perform abortions. ACOG does not speak for all OB-GYNs in practice on this issue.”
Harrison also noted, “Elective abortion is not essential health care,” and invoked the Dublin Declaration on Maternal Health. It affirms:
As experienced practitioners and researchers in obstetrics and gynecology, we affirm that direct abortion — the purposeful destruction of the unborn child — is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman. We uphold that there is a fundamental difference between abortion, and necessary medical treatments that are carried out to save the life of the mother, even if such treatment results in the loss of life of her unborn child. We confirm that the prohibition of abortion does not affect, in any way, the availability of optimal care to pregnant women.
Harrison further clarified that “an elective abortion is an attempt to solve a social problem by killing human beings in utero — and that has no place in the practice of Hippocratic medicine.”
Devastatingly, for the millions of unborn children terminated under Richards’ tenure at Planned Parenthood, it seems she never got that memo.
Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.