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A doctor gave me pills for a nightmarish abortion. The FDA betrayed women by letting that happen 

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Imagine seeking help from a doctor — one you particularly trust to keep you safe in times of sickness and emergency. And yet, that doctor prescribes you a drug without even looking at your medical history or telling you the potential complications or risk factors associated with that drug. 
 
It seems ludicrous to think a doctor could be so careless. But this is what many women experience when they seek help terminating a pregnancy. And it’s what I experienced when I sought help at my local Planned Parenthood. 

From my first phone call, the staff at the clinic began coercing me to take abortion drugs. 

 
No counseling was offered. Instead, they urged me to have a chemical abortion before my pregnancy went any further; otherwise, they warned, I’d be facing a much more painful surgical procedure. 

These abortion drugs, they kept saying, were ‘the easy way.’ What I’d feel, they promised, would be just like ‘a heavy period.’ 
 
The doctor did an ultrasound but didn’t want me to look at the screen. No one told me what the risks of the procedure were. They kept minimizing the drugs, assuring me it would be easy and safe, and that, above all, I would feel relieved. 
 
The doctor gave me the abortion drugs: one to take there in the office, the other the next day, at home. 

Alone. 

I was going to be doing my own abortion. Nothing was said about any side effects. Or of needing to see me for a follow-up appointment with the doctor. Or about what to do in an emergency. We talked more about billing than the impact of these drugs on my body, or my physical and emotional health.  

‘It’s going to be as easy as taking a Tylenol,’ they said. 

It wasn’t. 

When the drugs took effect, the pain was beyond anything I’d ever experienced or imagined. I bled profusely, pools of blood down my legs and on to the floor. Pain relievers and heating packs did nothing to ease the pain. My body shook violently. I suffered nausea and diarrhea and was sweating uncontrollably. Then, I passed the amniotic sac with my tiny child inside. 

I was shocked and traumatized. They had said all I would see would be blood clots like a heavy period. No one had warned me that I would see my recognizable baby. 

I was devastated. Shattered. I held the sac, not knowing what to do with my tiny baby. I was covered in blood, still sick and shaking, when I flushed my baby down the toilet. 

I came to that point — of physical danger, emotional anguish, psychological torment — because the doctors and medical professionals at Planned Parenthood lied to me. They didn’t tell me the truth about what was happening inside me … or about what would happen in that bathroom. They made no effort to ensure I would come to see them again afterward for follow-up care. 

They shared only carefully selected information that would prompt me to give them money and take their drugs — without any concern for my health, safety or well-being. 

There’s a reason the Food and Drug Administration’s own label for these drugs says that one in 25 women will end up in the emergency room. The pain was excruciating. I bled heavily for weeks after I took them. I also experienced tremors for weeks after. 

I’m sharing my story because I want to ensure that other women receive proper medical care when taking these drugs. 

Given my experience, knowing that the FDA no longer requires doctors to prescribe these drugs to women with the utmost caution and care is appalling. I am heartbroken to think of young girls taking these drugs all alone, as I did, because the FDA betrayed them. 

Regardless of what any of us might think about abortion, women using these drugs deserve better. 

Women deserve in-person doctor visits to check for ectopic pregnancies, life-threatening infections, and severe bleeding. And to be as informed as possible about what they might experience taking these drugs.  

That’s why I am supporting the case that Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed on behalf of the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine against the FDA at the U.S. Supreme Court — a case the court recently announced it will hear on March 26. 

What I experienced on that bathroom floor haunts me to this day. Afterward, I suffered anorexia, depression, nightmares and more. Even after years of counseling to work through the pain and betrayal, I still suffer from nightmares and PTSD. 

I was devastated. Shattered. I held the sac, not knowing what to do with my tiny baby. I was covered in blood, still sick and shaking, when I flushed my baby down the toilet. 

But countless women are still being misinformed the way I was, facing the same horrors I did, and facing them alone, as I did. 

No woman should be left to perform her own abortion. The FDA has betrayed the women and girls who look to them to establish and enforce the safety standards that prioritize their health and well-being over political agendas and corporate profits. 

It’s time all those involved in that betrayal live up to their responsibility and put women’s health first. 

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