Editor’s note: The Exponent does not have a stance on abortion. Our editorial board decided not to publish the ad referenced in this letter because it advocated for a medication that has not been properly tested, and has been called dangerous and ineffective by multiple medical professionals.
Last week, The Exponent took sides in the abortion debate when it published a letter complaining about an ad from Matrix LifeCare Center promoting abortion reversal treatment along with a note stating they would no longer run that particular ad.
The letter asserted that the treatment has not been studied. Matrix’s ad made no claims about scientific studies, but a 2018 study showed that the treatment Matrix offers is far more effective than doing nothing.
The Exponent feels this study is worth ignoring because its first author went on to establish the Abortion Pill Reversal program. This might be a conflict of interest if he were earning money from the program while conducting the study, but he wasn’t.
Similar studies have been criticized for not using randomized placebos. You may as well criticize the fact that CPR hasn’t been studied in a clinical trial where half the victims were intentionally left untreated.
Last week’s letter suggests this treatment is unsafe because one (unethical) randomized trial prematurely ended when three of twelve women suffered hemorrhage, not mentioning that two of these were in the placebo group. The anti-reversal argument, then, is that whether you take progesterone or not, taking mifepristone without misoprostol is dangerous. However, this anecdote is not scientific evidence of serious risk, and any risks are mitigated by close supervision from a physician.
The real reason many oppose this treatment is that every story of a baby saved by treatments like those offered by Matrix undercuts the narrative that abortion is just another medical procedure and that the child’s life is expendable.
The Exponent’s editors have made themselves the judges of medical literature, inserting themselves between the woman and the doctor, suppressing information that could help mothers who want it. This decision manages to support abortion while restricting women’s choices.
- Daniel Slonim, mathematics graduate student