Problems the Abortion Industry Doesn’t Want to Talk About

Problems the Abortion Industry Doesn’t Want to Talk About

When Abortion Pills Don’t Work

By Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., NRL Director of Education & Research

Abortion pills, even when taken as instructed, don’t always work. The baby is not always killed and the woman’s body flushed out. It’s something that the abortion industry admits in the fine print, but certainly doesn’t like to advertise.

They insist that failure is rare and imply that it isn’t a big problem. When the chemical (or “medical”) abortion fails, the abortion industry just tells a woman to take more pills or get a quick surgical abortion.

But from the very beginning, one suspected this was far more spin than science.

Now, from a surprising source, come first-hand accounts of what that failure is really like and it is very, very ugly. Freelance journalist Rose Stokes tells in graphic detail about her “failed” chemical abortion along with that of a couple of other women, in VICE UK (the British side of VICE online digital news). Stokes shares details about the real physical problems and psychological challenges that accompanied those failures.

Failure is not an unexpected option

Beverly Winikoff, one of the activists/researchers long in the forefront of the push for chemical abortions, likes to tell people that chemical abortion “has been shown to be safe and up to 98% effective for early pregnancy termination” (International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, September 2012).

Even if that effectiveness figure were accurate, this would mean over 5,000 failures among the 265,000+ who took the drug in the U.S. in 2014 alone. Slightly more forthcoming observers (e.g., mifepristone distributor Danco) admit that the failure rate may be at least 7%, meaning the yearly failures could involve 12,000 women a year or more. And we know that failure rates increase with gestation age, and that the industry keeps doing later chemical abortions, meaning even those figures may be low.

Abortion pill promoters may try to pass this off as mere statistical noise, but something affecting this many women is clearly a public health concern.

So what is a failed chemical abortion like?

Rose Stokes is unapologetic about her abortion, saying her reasons for doing so “are deeply personal, painful, and nobody’s business but mine.” But she offers details of her own chemical abortion that show that, at least for some women, the experience is dramatically different than advertised.

Given a choice between a surgical and chemical abortion, Stokes asked what the difference was. “Well, one you take a pill and the other is more invasive” she was told. She opted for the chemical one, thinking it would be “simpler.”

Stokes took the first pill (mifepristone) at her first visit. She returned two days later and had the second pill (misoprostol) inserted into her vagina. (It is unclear from the text whether Stokes or the clinician did this [1] Stokes said this “felt like an act of self-violence” and she walked back to the waiting room and into her mother’s arms “crying with a ferocity I hadn’t experienced since childhood.”

Stokes was told that she could expect her “miscarriage” to begin at any time, and that it should be over in a day. She might have some mild cramping for up to a week, they told her, but she could take some pain pills if it hurt.

She felt some pain about four hours after getting home to her apartment. Stokes says she went into “full labor” within an hour, complete with “contractions, vomiting, bleeding, crying, sh***ng.” This went on for hours, Stokes describing herself as “traumatized.”

The contractions finally began to recede about 12 hours later, allowing Stokes to think the worst was over. But the contractions didn’t entirely disappear, and when they persisted a week later after an unsuccessful attempt to return to work, she went to the doctor for “some stronger meds.” He found that her blood pressure was “dangerously low” and he sent her straight to the hospital.

There, after Stokes lay on the floor of the waiting room of the pregnancy unit for four hours, crying, a scan revealed that her abortion was “incomplete,” that there were still “remaining products” in her womb. (Stokes does not say whether or not this included the baby or just leftover material from the remaining placenta.)

She had surgery three days later and lost another week of work. Stokes says, “The whole ordeal left me physically and emotionally wrung out.”

Before considering the accounts of other women who also experienced chemical abortion failures, note a few things about Stokes’ experience.

She was given the impression it would be relatively quick and simple. It wasn’t. Her experience with the pain and bleeding and contractions were actually quite normal for a standard chemical abortion. It wasn’t until those contractions continued for another week that Stokes began to sense that maybe something wasn’t right.

And though there are multiple studies by abortion pill advocates touting the “satisfaction” of abortion pill users, Stokes describes her experience as psychologically traumatic and physically wrenching from beginning to end.

Stokes says, “I don’t regret for a second my decision to terminate my pregnancy” and she remains convinced that “Abortion is a safe medical procedure.” However, she does say that as long as women are going to have abortions, that they have “access to fair, honest, and detailed information about the various procedures involved” should be ensured “as a matter of public health.”

Not the only one

Stokes relates the stories of others who had failed chemical abortions. “Diana” (a pseudonym) took pills to have a chemical abortion when she was 19. “The procedure went as planned,” Diana went home, and then on a family vacation. The problem was, she was still bleeding.

“It was just awful,” Diana related to Stokes. “I’d have a shower and look down and the floor would be red. I’d bleed through pads at an astonishing rate and couldn’t go swimming.”

On the plane ride home, the bleeding became more intense and she knew something was wrong. “The blood felt like it was gushing out of me and it soaked through my dress and onto the plane seats. It was humiliating and terrifying.”

Upon landing, her family rushed her to the hospital where she was told that the abortion had not been successful and that she would have to have surgery.

Like Stokes, Diana felt “traumatized” and says she ended up dropping out of college. The complications served to amplify her sense of guilt and shame. “I felt like I was being punished for my decision to end the pregnancy.”

Again, you see the depth of the psychological trauma that often accompanies the chemical abortion process, even if a woman still defends the decision.

And here with Diana we also see that bleeding can be a serious issue with these chemical procedures. Whether one successfully aborts or not, if the drugs work at all, women will bleed, and it can be heavy and long lasting. Abortion advocates sometimes like to compare it to a “heavy period,” but those reading of Diana’s experience will find that ludicrous.

The bleeding can reach dangerous levels and is known to be responsible for at least two women’s deaths.

Women react differently to abortion pill

Stokes talked with Yvonne Neubauer, the associate clinical director of Marie Stopes (essentially Britain’s Planned Parenthood). Neubauer admitted that women’s bodies react differently to the drugs, in the same way that every pregnancy is different. This means the advice the abortionist gives the woman is not a guarantee, but at best maybe some sort of average. “We give advice based on the median experience” Neubauer told Stokes.

Neubauer says that “Women’s bodies are complex and extremely variable, and no experience of abortion is the same…. This is why we prioritize support before, during, and after the process, and provide access to a range of resources, including a 24-hour support line.”

With U.S. abortion pill researchers pushing for less and less direct medical supervision, to the point of advocating for webcam abortions and the delivery of abortions pills by mail, Neubauer’s observation is remarkable. The priority of support before, during, and after the process appears to be an acknowledgment of the inherent risk of the chemical abortion procedure and the necessity of close monitoring, which only seems borne out by these women’s experiences.

Even if most do not suffer the complications and failures that Stokes and Diana did, Neubauer seems to be making the case that the only responsible thing to do is to plan for the exception.

The waiting is nerve-wracking

In her third case, Stokes makes the argument that going the chemical abortion route is traumatic even when it doesn’t work at all. Zoe Beaty, another journalist, took the pills, went home and waited for the abortion to begin. Nothing happened.

Afraid of miscarrying on the job, she stayed home from work. The clinic didn’t want to see her again until she had given the pills a full two weeks to work. Stokes said Beaty was “marooned at home.”

Waiting, knowing she was still pregnant, took an “emotional toll” on Beaty, says Stokes. “It just felt like things were getting out of control,” said Beaty. “I’d never heard of abortions not working.” She eventually booked a surgical abortion at 11 weeks.

The waiting built into the process of chemical abortions is at odds with the quick-fix mentality of abortion. Though this window of waiting provides some women with the opportunity to reconsider their decision, for most of the rest it means spending a longer time dealing with the reality of the intentionally deadly process. How this shapes post-abortion trauma in the future will soon become apparent.

But whether it occurs relatively quickly, slowly, or not at all, the chemical abortion process requires that a woman spend time thinking about something she doesn’t want to be thinking about.

And the fact that Beaty had “never heard of abortions not working” shows that the abortion pill’s promoters haven’t been as conscientious about telling the full truth about the drug as they have about making the sales pitch.

Quite different than advertised

Stokes admits that she didn’t pay too much attention to the details after picking what she thought was the “simpler” abortion. But after her experience, she thinks that women need to be given more complete, more honest information about chemical abortion.

Stokes said of the account she wrote, “[T]his is the article that I wanted to read both before the procedure and afterward, so that I could have been fully informed and prepared for what could happen to my body, rather than finding out during the process. I don’t want anyone to be as in the dark as I was.”

If Stokes got the wrong impression about chemical abortions, where did she get it from? We have been telling women about the physical and psychological trauma of these abortions for more than 20 years.

It is the abortion industry and their media pals who have tried to soft peddle and ignore chemical abortion’s problems, to try and sell bloody, painful traumatic process as nothing more than a chemically-induced “miscarriage.”

It’s not a miscarriage, but an abortion which takes the life of a child and puts a woman’s life at risk.

[1] Although Stokes’ chemical abortion was performed somewhere in Britain, the two drugs (mifepristone and misoprostol) and dosages appear to be the same as those currently used in the U.S. The British protocol (at least in Stokes’ case) involved returning to the clinic for a second visit and having the misoprostol inserted vaginally, as some clinics have done in the U.S. A later third visit was to confirm the abortion.


Doctors told them to abort because there was ‘no hope’ for their son. They were wrong.


Doctors told them to abort because there was ‘no hope’ for their son. They were wrong.

Cheyenne Potts and her husband Michael were eagerly awaiting the birth of their baby boy Leo when doctors informed them that something was wrong with their son. The news and the doctor’s advice to abort their baby “knocked the breath” out of them.

“Our little man, Leo, has a disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta… brittle bone disease,” explained Leo’s grandmother in an essay for Love What Matters. “‘He is broken and breaking,’ say the doctors. Type 2, they tell his parents, no hope. Always fatal. He may die during pregnancy or, certainly, shortly after birth. ‘It would be kinder to terminate,’ they tell his mom and dad.”

But aborting at 20 weeks is anything but “kind.” At this age, children are just a week shy of viability. Yet, some doctors still recommend discriminatory abortion for children at 20 weeks and beyond when a health condition is discovered. A D&E abortion is typically committed at this stage and involves dismembering the baby. Ripping a human being’s limbs from his torso is cruel and brutal and is described by former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino in the video below:


The family discussed the possible choices in front of them, but there was never a doubt that they would choose life for Leo. They also didn’t think they would ever bring him home, and planned his funeral. Still, there was a glimmer of hope in their hearts as they would talk about what life might be like if he did survive. For four months they lived with the uncertainty and the fear. At Christmas, Potts took as many photos as possible, wondering if this was the only Christmas she would ever have with Leo.

“… [A]t this time the doctors still all agree Leo would not live beyond a week, and that week would be one of pain,” wrote Leo’s grandmother.

Leo was born in January 2019 weighing five pounds, 11 ounces, and he was alive.

“Crying, alive, and doing it on his own! The doctors were wrong,” wrote his grandmother. “Was he perfect? No, he was perfectly imperfect, and he was HERE. Alive, and a fighter. That day, Leo began to show the world that he would write his own book.

“Today, 6 months later, Leo is still holding the pen….”

The doctors told the family that he would likely remain in the neonatal intensive care unit for three to six months. But he only spent 38 days in the hospital before coming home. While he still has health challenges and concerns — he’s at risk of breaking with the slightest bump and in more severe cases people experience hearing loss, spinal cord issues, and heart failure — life with Leo is beautiful. His family is grateful for each and every moment.

“We were asked about moments that stand out to us, and to be honest, I can’t think of just a few things that stand out,” wrote his grandmother. “He is an amazingly happy spirit and we see him touch and inspire people everywhere he goes. His family, most of all.”

Leo’s family never defined him by his diagnosis. They knew his value wasn’t wrapped up in the challenges he would face. Like every human being on the earth, Leo’s life isn’t determined by just one aspect. He is human and therefore he has value. And all the parts and pieces that make up who he is are not wiped out by the words Osteogenesis Imperfecta. To have aborted him would have been to say that he was nothing more than those two words. And that would have been a tragedy, an act of discrimination, and an injustice.

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Abortion Facts

Abortion Facts

It is imperative that pro-lifers be ready to answer questions about abortion and the risks associated with having an abortion. The below information will help you in answering these questions with provable research.



From the Alan Guttmacher Institute:

  • 926,200 abortions were performed in the U.S. in 2014
  • Nearly 4 in 10 pregnancies end in abortion.
  • 45% of women seeking an abortion have had at least one previous abortion.
  • 46% of abortions are performed on women less than 25 years of age. That breaks down to 12% on adolescents, and 34% on women ages 20-24.
  • Approximately 1/4 of American women have had an abortion by age 45. One in 20 by age 20, and one in five by age 30.
  • Abortion disproportionately affects black and Hispanic women


Dilation & Curettage (D&C)
Occasionally used through the 12th week. After dilation of the cervix, a curette is inserted into the uterus. The baby’s body is cut into pieces and extracted, often by suction. The uterine wall is then scraped to remove the placenta and confirm that the uterus is empty.

Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)
Performed up to 18 weeks. Forceps are inserted into the uterus, grabbing and twisting the baby’s body to dismember it. If the head is too large, it must be crushed in order to remove it.
image 1
Dilation and Extraction (D&X or Partial Birth Abortion)
Performed in the 2nd and 3rd trimester. The cervix is dilated. Forceps extract the live baby by the feet until the head is just inside the cervix. Scissors then puncture the skull, allowing the abortionist to collapse it by suctioning out the contents. The dead baby is then fully removed from the mother. This method is banned in the United States.image 2

Used in the last three months of pregnancy. The womb is entered by a surgical incision in the abdominal wall, similar to a Caesarean section. However, the abdominal cord is usually cut while the baby is still in the womb, cutting off the oxygen supply and causing suffocation. Sometimes, though, the baby is delivered alive and left unattended to die.

Intracardial Injection
Performed at about four months. The chemical digoxin is injected into the baby’s heart, causing immediate death. The dead baby’s body is then reabsorbed by the mother. This method is often used as “pregnancy reduction” when a mother carrying multiples wants fewer children.

Performed during the second half of pregnancy. A hormone-like compound is injected into the muscle of the uterus causing intense contractions and pushing out the baby. The violent contractions often crush the baby to death, though many babies have been born alive using this procedure, then left to die.

Used through the seventh week of pregnancy, RU-486 is a synthetic steroid that blocks the hormone progesterone. Women then take a second drug, prostaglandin to induce contractions and expel the dead baby. Ella, another abortion drug, works in the same way.

Saline Injection
Usually performed during months four through seven. A 20% salt solution (the normal salt solution is .9%) is injected through the mother’s abdomen into the baby’s amniotic fluid. The baby ingests the solution and dies of salt poisoning, dehydration, and hemorrhaging of the brain. The baby’s skin is burned off. A dead or dying baby is delivered. A baby born alive is usually left unattended to die, though some have survived.

Suction Abortion
After dilation of the cervix, a suction curette (a tube with a serrated tip) is inserted into the uterus. The strong suction (29 times the power of a household vacuum cleaner) tears the baby’s body apart and sucks it through the hose into a container. This is the most common method of abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.


Medical Complications

  • Heavy bleeding
  • Infection
  • Incomplete abortion
  • Sepsis
  • Damage to the cervix
  • Scarring of the uterine lining
  • Uterine perforation
  • Damage to internal organs
  • Death

Emotional Complications

  • Eating disorders
  • Relationship problems
  • Guilt
  • Depression
  • Flashbacks of the abortion
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Alcohol and drug abuse

Higher Risk of These Issues Later:

  • Breast cancer
  • Cervical, ovarian, and liver cancer
  • Placenta previa
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • Endometritis
  • Ectopic pregnancy

Return to: Get Educated

Be Confident in Your Ability to Defend the Unborn

With the abortion industry continues to fill the minds of Americans with lies, there is a critical need for reliable information about the abortion epidemic and its far-reaching consequences so that we, as pro-life supporters, can take action for the most vulnerable among us – the unborn. Each day that we remain silent, 2,500 babies die from abortion.

As a pro-life advocate, this doesn’t sit well with you. The good news is that you can do something about it.

Be Confident in Your Ability to Defend the Unborn

Being a pro-life advocate can be challenging. Our mission to defend the unborn can sometimes feel like an uphill battle because our culture has accepted the abortion agenda and has lost its respect for life.

Care Net has put together an easy way for you to be confident in your ability to defend the unborn and compassionately engage our culture about abortion – a free online course!

With more than 40 years of serving women and men at pregnancy centers across North America, the experts at Care Net have carefully put together this course to:

  • arm you with trusted facts on abortion and the industry
  • equip you to confidently and lovingly stand for the unborn

Abortion must come to an end, but the first step to make this happen is for pro-life advocates to learn how to confidently and effectively communicate the reality of abortion.(note: this is not a comprehensive training for pregnancy center professionals — for such training, click here)

Here is what people who have taken the course are saying about it:

I think this class is essential. Thank you for putting together this tangible resource so more people will choose life!”

“I liked hearing about how something as simple as getting the facts on abortion can change a person’s mind if they want to have an abortion or not.”

You can defend the unborn and compassionately engage our culture – ultimately saving more babies from abortion through the information in this free online course!

Pro-Life Quote

God has a heart for the unborn, and as His church, so should we.”
-John Lindell

Christian Biblical Perspective on Abortion

Ohio Senate Unveils Pro-Life Priorities in Budget

Ohio Senate Unveils Pro-Life Priorities in Budget

DATE: Tuesday, June 11, 2019     PHONE: 614-547-0099 ext. 304

COLUMBUS, Ohio–Today, the Ohio Senate released their amended version of the biennial operating budget, which includes several important pro-life provisions.

The following statement may be attributed to Stephanie Ranade Krider, vice president and executive director of Ohio Right to Life:

Ohio is a pro-life state, and the Ohio Senate has clearly proven that with the life-affirming work represented in the budget they have presented today. We are excited to see the Ohio Senate’s inclusion of the Safe Families legislation in the budget. The Safe Families program is vital in protecting and supporting some of our most vulnerable families and children. It allows struggling parents to seek help and intervention from vetted families while getting their lives on track, before child protective services has to get involved, and provides ongoing mentoring and support. We applaud Senate President Obhof, Senator Hottinger and Senator Coley for demonstrating a consistent pro-life ethic supported by our membership.

Additionally, the inclusion of $5 million dollars in the budget for the Ohio Parenting and Pregnancy Program will provide critical support and care for women and their families. This is a $4 million dollar increase from the previous two budget cycles! Life-affirming pregnancy resource centers provide services ranging from pregnancy tests and prenatal care to material resources like diapers which are desperately needed by new mothers. This funding will impact countless mothers and babies by increasing the effectiveness and reach of Ohio’s 140+ pregnancy resource centers. We are grateful for the Ohio Senate’s pro-life majority and how they consistently further pro-life priorities!

Founded in 1967, Ohio Right to Life, with more than 45 chapters and local affiliates, is Ohio’s oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement in Ohio, ORTL works through legislation and education to promote and defend innocent human life from conception to natural death.

What is Natural Family Planning?

Natural family planning (NFP) is fertility awareness, which is simply knowledge of a couple’s fertility. It is a means of reading the body’s signs of fertility and infertility; applying this knowledge through the Sympto-Thermal Method (STM) is over 99% effective in postponing pregnancy. A married couple’s virtuous application of this knowledge either to try to achieve a pregnancy or to postpone a pregnancy is called responsible parenthood.

Practicing NFP is 100% natural — there are no drugs, chemicals or devices involved, which is one reason many today find it to be a positive and refreshing alternative to contraceptive methods. NFP honors our dignity as persons by respecting the natural rhythms and functions of the body. It is very common to hear couples who use NFP speak of an increased awe and respect for femininity and their mutual fertility, and a greater sense of empowerment through self-knowledge.

The Couple to Couple League International, Inc.
4290 Delhi Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45238-5829