Many media outlets treat the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) as an impartial resource on abortion — as if citing the group somehow adds legitimacy to the pro-choice position.
For example, Slate referenced the ACOG while reporting on a January Supreme Court ruling that upheld a district court decision to continue requiring in-person visits for chemical abortions. According to the outlet, the ACOG said that such regulations “unconstitutionally limited women’s ability to obtain abortions.”
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This is not a medical argument, but Slate still treated the ACOG’s statement as if it held some objective authority on the issue.
The New Mexico Political Report also cited the ACOG as evidence that chemical abortion drugs no longer need to be regulated under the Food and Drug Administration’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS).
But drugs like Mifepristone, the first dose a woman takes when undergoing a chemical abortion, are under REMS guidelines because they can pose serious safety concerns to those who take them.
The side effects associated with chemical abortions include severe cramping, contractions, and heavy bleeding. Many women also experience headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and severe abdominal pain. Between 5 and 8 out of 100 women who undergo a chemical may suffer an incomplete abortion and need to undergo a second surgical abortion.
Due to insufficient reporting of chemical abortion complications, however, many of the significant health risks related to this type of abortion go unacknowledged.
Is the ACOG not aware of the chemical abortion’s numerous risk factors? Unfortunately, a closer inspection of the ACOG reveals it is far from an unbiased source of information, and it also has a history of shifting its medical recommendations so they will align with the abortion industry’s rhetoric.
Redefining Healthcare Standards to Defend Abortion
After two lower courts blocked the case in 2018 and 2020, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch asked the Court to hear it, arguing that Roe’s viability standard does not adequately protect women and children. In response to the Court’s decision to hear the case, the ACOG issued a statement that sounds as if it is rooted more in political rhetoric than objective medical facts.
“ACOG hopes that the Supreme Court will once again rely on precedent as well as evidence-based medicine to uphold the right of patients to access safe, legal abortion care, as was established by the Court itself decades ago,” the statement read.
‘Such a decision will protect and maintain access to care for individuals in Mississippi as well as the dozens of other states that have similarly passed legislation eroding and even outright banning our patient’s rights.”
It is rather ironic for the ACOG to tout abortion as “evidence-based medicine,” considering the same organization changed its abortion “practice bulletin” so its recommendations no longer contradicted the abortion industry’s attempts to expand chemical abortions.
As Live Action News reported, up until last year, the ACOG recommended women have an ultrasound before a chemical abortion takes place. In its March 2014 Practice Bulletin #143, “Medical Management of First-Trimester Abortion,” the ACOG even noted that a clinical evaluation or ultrasound exam is necessary to determine the pregnancy’s gestational age.
The ACOG’s updated October 2020 Practice Bulletin #225, “Medication Abortion Up to 70 Days of Gestation,” says that “[m]edication abortion is not recommended for patients with any of the following: confirmed or suspected ectopic pregnancy…..”
It also notes that “A potential concern when providing early abortion services is the possibility of an undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy.”
But, strangely, the ACOG now believes that assessing the pregnancy via ultrasound is only necessary if there are no “risk factors for ectopic pregnancy.” These factors include a previous ectopic pregnancy, prior fallopian tube surgery, previous pelvic or abdominal surgery, certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs), pelvic inflammatory disease, and endometriosis.
The ACOG is, of course, ignoring the scenario where a woman is not even aware that she has a condition like an STI (which is common). In addition, if a woman does not know about these potential risk factors, then it seems unlikely she would be aware of the dangers that a chemical abortion poses to her health.
Another report from Live Action News highlighted how the ACOG recommends women attempting at-home births do so with the assistance of a certified physician with hospital admitting privileges.
But when it comes to abortion, the ACOG does not recommend that women have safe and timely transport to nearby hospitals. In fact, the ACOG even supports expanding the training pool of abortionists to include non-physicians.
It seems as if the ACOG is playing it fast and loose with women’s health and safety for the sake of defending the abortion industry. While such a thing is disheartening, it is hardly surprising when one considers the source of the ACOG’s funding, as well as how the group elects to spend its money.
The ACOG’s Financial Ties to the Abortion Industry
Carole Novielli at Live Action News has spent years investigating the abortion industry and its ties to outside entities. Novielli has dismantled the idea that the ACOG is an impartial medical organization is the fact that it has been funded by Ibis Reproductive Health, which receives funds directly from the chemical abortion manufacturer Danco Laboratories. In addition, the ACOG is currently funded by another Danco investor, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
The Warren Buffett Foundation, founded by the billionaire of the same name who also happens to be one of the first investors in Danco, donated $1.4 million to the ACOG in 2018. Throughout the past several years, the foundation has donated thousands of dollars to the ACOG.
Buffett’s charity, the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, has also contributed $1.5 billion to help fund the abortion industry in the U.S., making it the largest financial backer of abortion in the country. Between 2003-2018, Buffett’s foundation donated $565 million to support “reproductive rights.”
For the sake of women’s health, it is time to stop pretending the ACOG is an impartial organization.