Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life
An ancient saying tells us, "Where there's life, there's hope." The truth of that statement was demonstrated powerfully by an experience that two of our medical advisors at Priests for Life recently related to us.
Dr. Matthew Harrison had a visit from a 20-year old woman named Ashley. She was seven weeks pregnant, but she feared for the life of her baby - not because there was anything wrong with the pregnancy, but because, two days earlier, she had taken RU-486 at an abortion mill. Now, she had changed her mind about having the abortion and wanted to see if the baby could be saved!
The RU-486 process requires taking the drug itself (called mifiprex) at the abortion mill, and then taking a second drug (called cytotec or misoprostol) three days later on one's own. Ashley had taken the mifiprex, but had not yet taken the cytotec. Now in a small percentage of cases, the RU-486 will not kill the baby by itself. It's normal function, however, is to starve the unborn child by interfering with the working of progesterone. The RU-486 goes to the cells that receive the progesterone and block them, so that the real progesterone cannot do its work. This would be analogous to putting a counterfeit key into a keyhole so that it fits but cannot turn the lock to open the door. Meanwhile, the real key cannot go in. The cytotec, then, will induce contractions so that a dead baby is delivered.
Dr. Harrison had not faced such a situation before. Ashley told him that her boyfriend had pushed for the abortion. But after she took the RU-486, Ashley thought to herself, "O My God, what have I done?" She told her mother what had happened, and her mom called a local pregnancy center. The center then referred her to Dr. Harrison.
The doctor excused himself, went into another room, and prayed. He consulted a number of medical resources, and decided to give Ashley a progesterone treatment. With an extra dose of progesterone, he thought, maybe the effects of the counterfeit progesterone could be overcome. It was worth a try. This was not, however, without its risks, about which he clearly informed Ashley. He told her, first of all, that this effort might not work, and her baby might die anyway. He also told her that this effort might prolong the death process, or might bring additional complications to her or her child, or might even kill her. Ashley was courageous, and signed the consent form saying, "Whatever happens is in God's hands - I just pray that my baby will be OK."
She took the shot, and she began bleeding that weekend. But then the bleeding stopped, and with continued progesterone treatment by Dr. Harrison, the pregnancy continued normally. Dr. Daniel L. Holland, who is Dr. Harrison's partner, delivered a healthy baby girl named Kaylie - a survivor of an attempted RU-486 abortion!
It's easy to think it's "too late!" But where there's life, there's hope!
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"In Cordibus Jesu et Mariae"