Former Planned Parenthood Worker Says Medication Abortions ‘Far More Dangerous’ Than Surgical Abortions

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Grace Carr Reporter
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  • Former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson says that medication abortions are far more dangerous than surgical abortions and that some doctors will not prescribe the medication because of its risks.
  • Studies show that the incidence of adverse events following medication abortions is up to four times greater than the rate for surgical abortions.
  • Planned Parenthood is extolling an “abortion-expansion” plan and seeks to perform equal numbers of surgical and medication abortions, Johnson said.

Medication abortions are far more dangerous than surgical abortions, former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an exclusive interview Wednesday.

“Medication abortions are significantly riskier than surgical abortions because there are follow-up appointments that are required, and a lot of women do not follow-up afterwards,” Johnson told TheDCNF by phone, explaining that the majority of deaths occur after “retained products of the fetus still in the uterus become septic.”

A medication abortion occurs when a woman takes a mifepristone pill at a clinic and a second pill of misoprostol between six and 48 hours later, usually at home, according to Planned Parenthood. The pill is used to end pregnancies up to 10 weeks.

Medication abortions are “really dangerous, and I’ve known physicians who won’t even prescribe the pill because of its risks,” said Johnson, adding that the lack of in-person patient interaction throughout the entire procedure makes it especially risky. The rate of women that came back for their follow-up appointments while Johnson was at Planned Parenthood was 50 percent.

Planned Parenthood workers don’t inform the women having medication abortions about the risks or what to expect, according to Johnson. “Women think that medication abortions are more natural and that’s a lie,” Johnson said. “It’s not uncommon to bleed for six to eight weeks,” after the abortion according to Johnson. She added that women often expel “blood clots the size of lemons.”

Johnson worked at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, Texas, until 2009 when she left the organization. She had a medication abortion before she became pro-life.


Women often expel the baby in their home and then flush it down the toilet, leading to emotional trauma and ramifications that haven’t been studied, said Johnson. “There’s no peer-reviewed data and we have no idea of the sheer trauma it causes women,” Johnson said.

“Hemorrhage complications were frequent, and women were going to the ER all the time, retaining dead fetuses,” Johnson said. “If a woman experienced complications and lived 90 miles from ER, she could die in that time,” she continued.

“There were always complications,” Johnson added, saying that she advocated for surgical abortions instead of medication abortions while she worked at the clinic because they are safer.

Medication abortions have a higher rate of complications than surgical abortions, according to a University of California San Francisco December 2014 study that analyzed data from over 50,000 U.S. women who obtained abortions between 2009 and 2010. The overall rate of complications is low, according to the study. (RELATED: Abortion Groups Claim Abortion Pill Is Totally Safe. Here Are The FDA’s Latest Numbers)

A Finish study reported similar findings. Over 42,600 Finish women who had abortions between 2000 and 2006 were followed until 42 days post-abortion, in a study published October 2009. The overall incidence of adverse events was nearly four times higher for medication abortions at 20 percent compared with surgical abortions at 5.6 percent, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Planned Parenthood’s goal is to have equal numbers of surgical and medication abortions, according to Johnson. “They’re not interested in keeping women safe and not interested in women’s health,” she said.

The abortion organization is pushing medication abortions because it’s cost-effective, according to Johnson. Planned Parenthood charges women between $440 and $682 for a medication abortion in Texas. It pays only $82 for the combined medicines, according to Johnson. They also pay physicians assisting in medication abortions half what they pay those performing surgical abortions. “It’s cost-saving,” Johnson said.

Complications from the abortion pill have risen in Ohio, according to a July 20 Operation Rescue report. There were 106 complications due to pill-induced abortions in 2017, a 44 percent increase from 2016 and an 87 percent increase from 2014.

Operation Rescue is a pro-life organization that “[takes] direct action to restore legal personhood to the pre-born,” according to its website.

Johnson doesn’t think Planned Parenthood’s new president, Dr. Leana Wen, will do a better job than former President Cecile Richards. “Wen has a false view of what Planned Parenthood is actually doing. She is out of touch with the organization’s abortion-expansion plan,” Johnson said.

Wen touts the fact that she is an ER doctor, but doesn’t understand that medication abortions are sending women directly there, according to Johnson. “Medication abortion is an at-home abortion. If she’s worried about at-home abortions, Planned Parenthood should stop medication abortion,” Johnson said.

Wen said that the Planned Parenthood offers “live-saving care,” in a Monday interview on “CBS This Morning.”

Johnson is the founder of pro-life group And Then There Were None (ATTWN), which helps abortion workers leave the industry. It also helps women who’ve had abortions and are suffering. The group has helped over 400 abortion workers leave their jobs since its founding in 2012.

Planned Parenthood did not immediately respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.

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