Reckless Push for Dangerous At-Home Pill Abortions Follows Yet Another Flawed Study

Charlotte Lozier Institute  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 18, 2017
Contact: Nicole Stacy,, 202-223-8073


Experts Criticize Study and Reporting, Citing Numerous Flaws that Put Women’s Safety at Risk


Washington, D.C.Charlotte Lozier Institute experts today criticized a recent study purporting to demonstrate the safety of mail-order abortion pills manufactured overseas, as well as coverage of the study by a prominent abortion advocacy news site, Rewire.


The study, which first appeared in the journal Contraception, tested samples of RU-486 purchased online. In a new paper titled Rewire’s Reckless Push for Mail-Order Mifeprex, CLI President Chuck Donovan and CLI Associate Scholar Donna Harrison, M.D. identify many troubling aspects of the study which caused them to arrive at an opposite conclusion from both Rewire and Contraception. Among other disturbing findings, CLI raises alarms that the Contraception study found:


  • None of the sites delivering RU-486 required a prescription to place the order.
  • None of the mailed packages contained any patient information or instructions.
  • Nine of the shipped drug packages were damaged in shipment, including eight that had pinprick holes in the foil on the blister pack.
  • Products arrived up to three weeks after placing the order and sending payment.
  • Content of the misoprostol pills tested ranged from only 17 percent of the labeled dosage to a little over 100 percent, with five of the 20 pills (25 percent) containing under half of the recommended dose.
  • Testing was limited to a single pill from the mifepristone portion of the order and a single pill from the misoprostol portion, which were not tested for contaminants or fillers.
  • The study makes no reference to lot number or other coding information that would indicate precisely when and where the pills were manufactured. Many of the products did not match the image shown on the website advertising them.
  • Nothing about the online ordering process would prevent sale and shipment to a third party – including bulk orders.


Moreover, CLI has previously identified at least 85 unique websites selling chemical abortion kits. The study in question looked at fewer than 20 percent of these sites.


CLI experts slammed the study’s obvious flaws and troublesome findings:


Dr. Donna Harrison, associate scholar and executive director of American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists: “Despite the years of rhetoric that Mifeprex abortions entail nothing more than popping a pill and ‘Poof! It’s over,’ the lived reality of women’s hemorrhaging, pain and complications testifies differently.  In the latest version of the ‘Poof! It’s over’ rhetoric, a study looked at the availability of Mifeprex via online order, and found that drug dosages were wrong, blister packages were perforated, and no instructions were included. Worse, there is no way to know if these drugs are being ordered and used by pimps and abusers.  And the conclusion of the article? The same recklessly irresponsible mantra echoed mindlessly over and over by pro-abortion advocates: “safe and effective.”  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.”


Chuck Donovan, president of Charlotte Lozier Institute: “This latest study purporting to show the feasibility of ordering and using Mifeprex online actually demonstrates the opposite. Issues of informed consent, product safety and reliability, accountability – just basic concern for women who might use or unwittingly be subjected to these pills – are overlooked.  Rewire’s reckless claim of safety is unsupported. Women deserve better, and the Food and Drug Administration must pay closer attention to practices like this that show such disregard for science and health.”


CLI has previously criticized the British Medical Journal for publishing a study that included two authors affiliated with Women on Web, a pro-abortion activist group that illegally sends abortion drugs by mail to women in countries where abortion is prohibited or limited, and the American Civil Liberties Union for suing to loosen FDA regulation of the abortion drug known as Mifeprex (mifepristone) and make it available by prescription in commercial pharmacies without a physician visit.


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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