Abortion pill reversal is medically sound

Nadia Smetana


This letter is in response to the letter from Elizabeth Larson published in the Sept. 26-27 issue of the MDN, “Abortion Reversal not medically sound”.

I am happy for the chance to clarify some things that were brought up in the letter. First of all, let’s talk about terms. The letter used the term “abortion reversal.” The fundraiser held by Dakota Hope featured a woman who had experienced abortion pill reversal.

Surgical abortions are completed within minutes and of course, are not reversible. A medical abortion is a 2-step process. The first abortion pill (mifepristone or RU-486) is given at the abortion clinic. It causes an abortion by blocking progesterone receptors. Progesterone is a necessary hormone that nurtures and supports a pregnancy.

The second abortion pill (misoprostol or Cytotec) is taken at home and its purpose is to cause the uterus to contract and expel the baby.

Some women regret the abortion soon after taking the first pill. For these women there is a possibility for a second chance to save the pregnancy. Abortion Pill Reversal is a cutting-edge application of a time-tested, FDA approved treatment used safely for decades to prevent miscarriage and preterm birth. It involves an off-label prescription of progesterone to counteract the effects of the first abortion pill. Time is of the essence. The goal is to start the progesterone within 24 hours of taking the first abortion pill, but there have been many successful reversals when treatment was started within 72 hours.

A woman who wants to continue her pregnancy should not take the second abortion pill. She should also connect to a local prescribing physician for abortion pill reversal and a pregnancy help center by calling the 24/7 helpline at 1-877-558-0333 or go to the APR website, abortionpillreversal.com

According to the APR website, more than 1000 women have successfully reversed their pill abortions since the program began and many of their stories can be found on the above referenced website. Everyone is invited to listen to the powerful story of Rebekah Hagan who spoke at the Dakota Hope Fundraising Banquet. Listen free for a limited time – until Oct. 21 on the Dakota Hope Clinic website event page.

As to the question of whether this is a safe and effective medical procedure, there is good evidence that it is. I would refer anyone to the resources I will post on the Friends of Dakota Hope FB page and on the Dakota Hope Clinic website under the Partner With Us tab.

After spending 16 years as a research nurse, I know that headlines on research articles can be misleading and you must take a second look at details. This is true of the 2019 study Larson referred to in her letter that purported to show that the abortion pill reversal procedure was not credible and could be harmful to patients. That study actually pointed to the riskiness of the abortion pill itself because the two patients that needed treatment for severe bleeding had received placebo, not progesterone, after taking the first abortion pill.

Another criticism leveled at abortion pill reversal proponents is that women who do not take the second abortion pill may retain the pregnancy anyway. The literature indicates that up to 25% of women who only take the first abortion pill will stay pregnant. The latest published study shows that the percentage of women who stayed pregnant when progesterone was added was 68%, a significant increase.


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