In response to Doctors Without Borders’ promotion of do-it-yourself abortion, we asked for input from Dr. Ingrid Skop. In our exclusive interview, she explains what is going on internationally and the implications for women’s health in areas around the world in greatest need — and the World Health Organization’s own complicity.
As abortion advocates across the country continue to push to keep abortions available as an “essential” health care service during the COVID-19 pandemic, the promotion of unsafe, often illegal abortion by those who are supposed to be tasked with protecting patients’ health could not be more timely.—Serrin
Dr. Skop, as an OB-GYN, what are your thoughts about Doctors Without Borders instructing women to use the abortion pill, even where it is illegal?
I am sorry to hear that Doctors Without Borders (MSF), an organization that I have supported financially in the past due to their brave humanitarian work in some of the world’s most difficult areas, has compromised its medical integrity due to its leadership’s pro-abortion ideology.
This organization has recently begun recommending the use of medical abortion pills (illegally) in countries with restrictions on abortion. They may be unaware that the World Heath Organization statistics reporting 65,000 to 70,000 abortion-related maternal deaths and 7 million long-term complications yearly are inaccurate and dramatically inflated because they are largely drawn from subjective opinion surveys, rather than standard epidemiologic techniques.
What are the most common causes of maternal mortality and medical abortions?
The most common cause of maternal mortality worldwide is hemorrhage, and that is also the most common complication of medical abortion. International studies and meta-analyses show that up to 8 percent of medical abortions performed using mifepristone and misoprostol in the first trimester fail, requiring surgical completion. Misoprostol alone is even more ineffective but is often recommended because it is more readily available. Misoprostol in the first trimester fails in one out of five women and in the second trimester fails in two out of five women.
When incomplete abortions happen, deaths may occur in women who live remote from emergency medical care and blood transfusion, particularly if these women are already anemic due to malnutrition, parasitic infections, or inherited diseases such as sickle cell anemia and thalassemia. Retained pregnancy tissue may increase a woman’s risk of infection or sepsis, particularly in women who are immunocompromised due to HIV, tuberculosis, or other chronic illnesses. In addition,deaths may occur due to ruptured ectopic pregnancies if the medication is taken when the pregnancy is implanted in a location other than the uterus. There is also a potential that medical abortion will be provided unknowingly to a woman by someone else who may benefit from the loss of her pregnancy, such as sex traffickers, incestuous abusers, and men who do not want to become fathers.
What is the World Health Organization’s role here?
WHO acknowledges that women are already accessing information via word of mouth and the internet to obtain illegal abortions performed in medically standard ways by health care professionals, but WHO continues to promote the narrative that these abortions are dangerous in order to pressure countries to change their laws.
Now MSF has joined them in this ideologic quest, despite the clear evidence that promoting medical abortions with their high failure rates in countries with poor health care systems will cause injury and possibly death to many women.
I hope that MSF can recognize and backtrack from this error. They are respected for their work in caring for humans most in need around the world. We do not need them to become yet another organization pushing population control and eugenics by promoting the killing of unborn humans.
Thank you, Dr. Skop.
Ingrid Pfanstiel Skop, M.D. attended Oklahoma State University and the Washington University School of Medicine, and she trained in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. She has been caring for women and delivering babies for 25 years in San Antonio. Dr. Skop is married to Brian, a psychiatrist, and has three children: Ian, Eli, and Sophie.
Because women deserve better,
Serrin M. Foster
Feminists for Life of America