Dangerous Deception: Not Telling Your Doctor About Abortion Pill Use Increases Health Risks

Charlotte Lozier Institute  

Hospital Admissions for Surgery Double When Abortion Pill Complications Are Miscoded As Natural Miscarriage


Washington, D.C.A new analysis of 423,000 confirmed abortions debunks the common abortion industry narrative that “there’s no medical reason to tell a doctor about an abortion.”


According to the new study from Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI), if a woman’s abortion pill-related complications are miscoded by emergency room personnel as a natural miscarriage, she is:


  • Twice as likely to be admitted for surgery for retained products of conception
  • At significantly greater risk of multiple hospital admissions for treatment of complications


Over 60 percent of abortion pill-related emergency room visits were miscoded as treatment for a natural miscarriage in 2015, according to the most recent Medicaid data.


Dr. James Studnicki, CLI vice president of data analytics and lead author of the new peer-reviewed study, explains:


“We are witnessing a cover-up by the abortion industry, aided by willing allies in the media and in politics.  Real-world data shows that miscoding abortion pill complications as miscarriage increases the risk for multiple hospitalizations and follow-up surgery.  By encouraging women to conceal important information from their doctors, and recommending that pro-abortion doctors misreport these complications, both women’s health and our understanding of the risks of the abortion pill are put in jeopardy.


“Good science depends on reliable data.  Good medicine depends on an accurate medical history.  Abortion advocates are working to undermine both and it is the women they claim to support who pay the price.”


New York magazine’s recently published “Guide to Abortion Access” advises women who are experiencing abortion pill complications that, “You are now having a miscarriage; everyone at the ER should treat you accordingly, so avoid mentioning abortion, and the pills, entirely.”  Dr. Ralph Bundy, M.D., an abortion doctor from Florida, recently explained in Daily Kos that “there’s no medical reason to tell a doctor about an abortion.”


Yet according to CLI’s analysis of the largest U.S. database of actual pregnancy outcomes:


  • Of the women with miscoded abortion pill complications who were admitted to the hospital, 86% needed surgery for retained products of conception.
  • Miscoded chemical abortions are more than twice as likely as chemical abortions that were not miscoded to result in a surgical admission.
  • Women admitted to the hospital with miscoded abortion pill complications averaged more than three total hospital admissions over 30 days. This was 78% higher than the average number of hospital admissions by women whose chemical abortion complications were not miscoded.


Dr. Ingrid Skop, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., a board-certified OB/GYN who serves as CLI’s director of medical affairs, said:


“Recent media coverage claiming that a natural miscarriage and an induced abortion are the same thing amount to encouraging medical malpractice.  The abortion pill impairs the immune system, meaning that women experiencing complications have a higher risk of infection, including an unusual sepsis.  The abortion pill also increases the risk of hemorrhage.


“Having walked with thousands of women through difficult pregnancies, miscarriage, and even complications from abortion, I know firsthand how difficult it is to talk about these issues.  But I can’t understand why the abortion industry seeks to nullify and even exacerbate a woman’s grief and experience by telling her to conceal important and medically-necessary information from her physician.  The data is clear.  Not telling your doctor that you’ve taken the abortion pill increases your health risks.”


Most current U.S. studies of abortion complications rely on voluntary surveys, small sample sizes, and weak reporting requirements which exclude non-fatal complications.  CLI’s study is unique in utilizing the largest U.S. database of actual pregnancy outcomes ever analyzed.


CLI’s first-of-its-kind study, “A Post Hoc Exploratory Analysis: Induced Abortion Complications Mistaken for Miscarriage in the Emergency Room are a Risk Factor for Hospitalization,” was recently published in the international peer-reviewed journal Health Services Research and Managerial Epidemiology.  CLI scholars Dr. James Studnicki, Tessa Longbons, Dr. Donna Harrison, Dr. Ingrid Skop, Dr. Chris Cirucci, Dr. David Reardon, Christopher Craver, Dr. John W. Fisher, and Dr. Maka Tsulukidze are the first researchers to utilize Medicaid claims data to conduct a 17-year longitudinal analysis of 423,000 confirmed abortions and 121,283 confirmed subsequent visits to an emergency room within 30 days of the abortion by women over 13 years of age, with at least one identifiable pregnancy between 1999 and 2015.  The study population resides in the 17 states whose official policies used state taxpayer funds to pay for abortions.



Charlotte Lozier Institute was launched in 2011 as the education and research arm of Susan B. Anthony List. CLI is a hub for research and public policy analysis on some of the most pressing issues facing the United States and nations around the world. The Institute is named for a feminist physician known for her commitment to the sanctity of human life and equal career and educational opportunities for women.




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