In May of 2017, Brook Fiske made the trip from her home in Rochester, New York to Arlington, Virginia to visit Sikander Imran and discuss with him how they planned to raise their child that she was carrying. The two were medical professionals that had dated in Rochester, and Fiske was 17 weeks pregnant. Though Imran had urged her to terminate the pregnancy, she refused. Tragically, he would have his way. Fiske recently shared her story to local news.
As she sipped her tea during the visit, Fiske noticed a powdery substance at the bottom of her cup. Hours later, contractions began, and she soon found herself in the emergency room, having miscarried the child.
The drug in her tea was misoprostol. Imran, the child’s father and a physician in Washington, D.C., allegedly placed the drug in her drink to induce an abortion. It has not yet been reported how Imran obtained the drug, but Fiske has stated that a nurse informed her that 200 mg was needed to induce labor, and she had 800 mg in her system. Imran has been charged with illegal cause of abortion (§ 18.2-71.) and premeditated killing of the fetus of another (§ 18.2-32.2.) in the state of Virginia and awaits trial in spring 2018. On the case, Fiske shared, “It was very empowering for me to face him and say what he had done and look him in the face while I said that.”
This type of violence against a pregnant woman and her unborn child is unfortunately not an isolated event. Women across the world have been subjected to forced chemical abortions by fathers of their unborn children. Stories have emerged from New York, Kansas, Florida, Wisconsin, and London, and we can only expect to hear more heartbreaking cases given both the growing availability of abortion-inducing drugs distributed through illegal websites that circumvent FDA regulations as well as the push for less regulation of abortion pills. In July, the Charlotte Lozier Institute found 86 unique websites selling either the combination of Mifeprex and misoprostol (76 websites) or misoprostol alone (10 websites). Dr. Donna Harrison, executive director of the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said of the sites, “It is time for the Food and Drug Administration to fulfill its statutory responsibility toward American women and eliminate these websites selling abortion drugs online.” As of this writing, it appears the only statement the FDA has issued is a word of caution on its Mifeprex webpage: “You should not buy Mifeprex over the Internet because you will bypass important safeguards designed to protect your health (and the health of others).”
Though a recent paper published by Contraception sought to demonstrate the safety of purchasing abortion pills online, their findings showed quite the opposite. CLI’s President, Chuck Donovan, and Dr. Donna Harrison analyze the paper and point out the dangerous threats these mail-order abortion drugs pose for women. To name a few of the red flags in the study, all of the pills were successfully ordered without a prescription and none of the packages received included instructions. Packages were damaged in shipment, and incorrect dosages of the drugs were sent.
Even with the FDA’s approved usage of Mifeprex and misoprostol, these drugs have proven extremely dangerous, painful, and even lethal. Women have died due to complications from these drugs – from heart attack, blood loss, and bacterial infection. Hundreds of women have been hospitalized. Thousands of women have needed blood transfusions. Taking Mifeprex and misoprostol results in four times as many complications as surgical abortion. Around one in twenty women will require surgery to complete the abortion or will end up in the emergency room – not to mention the potential for emotional trauma, when one’s own home becomes the place of one’s abortion.
Even so, it is important to note that abortion advocates are currently pushing to remove even the few safeguards left after the previous administration’s change in FDA’s regulation of the drug. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing the FDA demanding expanded access to Mifeprex, arguing it should be available in pharmacies without a visit to a physician. This push for less medical supervision and less personal medical care is frightening and will likely widen the pathway for grave injustice to both women and their unborn children. The opportunities online ordering of Mifeprex creates for disgruntled boyfriends and sex traffickers is evident.
It is said that losing a child is the most painful loss a mother’s heart can endure. For Brook Fiske and all women suffering from reproductive loss, we can only hope that the FDA will take action to defend the women of America and spare their unborn children.
Caroline Savoie is a research associate and Andrea Arellano is a fellow at the Charlotte Lozier Institute.