By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
BETTENDORF — A relatively new hormone treatment that can attempt to reverse RU-486 medical abortions is now available through the Women’s Choice Center.
Vicki Tyler, executive director of the pro-life facility, said “time is critical. The sooner a woman contacts us (after taking the first dose of RU-486) the better chance she has to attempt to reverse its effect and save the baby.”
RU-486 can be used up to seven weeks gestation. A pregnant woman who chooses this option for abortion is given mifepristone, the first part of the drug treatment, by a physician or medical professional. Mifepristone blocks the hormone progesterone from getting to the growing embryo and starves the embryo of nutrients needed to survive. After three days, the woman takes a second drug, misoprostol, at home, Tyler said. That drug triggers uterine contractions to expel the dead embryo.
According to Tyler, Dr. Gregory Delgado, an OB/GYN in California, first tried the reversal treatment after a woman had taken the first pill and decided she was making a mistake having the abortion. He figured that since the first drug starves the embryo by blocking progesterone, perhaps flooding the body with progesterone could stop the effects.
Using this treatment method, he and others have seen a 60 percent success rate of reversing the abortion, Tyler said. But time is of the essence. The sooner the process is started, the better chance the embryo can survive.
Dr. Karla Polaschek, medical director of the Women’s Choice Center and a practicing OB/GYN in Moline, Ill., learned about the process and brought it to the center’s governing board. She recommended the Women’s Choice Center become a referral site for women attempting to reverse a medical abortion.
Tyler said the board learned of the process in March and gave its approval this fall. The Women’s Choice Center became the first pregnancy center in the Midwest to offer referrals for treatment, beginning last month.
The center already has had one call from the national website/hotline at www.abortionpillreversal.com.
Tyler said the first thing the center does when a call comes in is to have the woman take another pregnancy test and ultrasound to determine whether the embryo is still viable. If so, the expectant mother meets with Dr. Polaschek so that treatments can begin. She administers the progesterone treatments and tests throughout the remainder of the woman’s pregnancy.
Treatments are covered by insurance and Medicaid in Illinois. For women outside of Illinois, Dr. Polasheck is doing the treatments pro bono. When possible, she will work with the pregnant woman to have treatments continued with the woman’s regular physician.
“Regret after an abortion can be devastating. For some, that regret begins immediately after the abortion,” Tyler said. “Previously there hasn’t been much hope for turning back once a medical abortion began. Now there is.”