On Tuesday, the pro-life movement got a lift and the pro-choice movement’s surreptitious attempt to blunt abortion reversal was defeated when the California Board of Registered Nursing said the pro-life group Heartbeat International could grant continuing education units (CEUs) to nurses who study Abortion Pill Reversal.
Abortion Pill Reversal is the procedure in which mothers who ingest mifepristone (RU-486) (“the abortion pill”) regret the decision and use an emergency progesterone treatment to save their babies.
As Jay Hobbs of Heartbeat International notes at pregnancyhelpnews.com:
In the past five years, more than 400 mothers have successfully rescued their babies through an emergency progesterone treatment that has been used for more than 50 years to prevent miscarriages. Backed by a network of more than 350 medical providers, the Abortion Pill Reversal hotline (1-877-558-0333)—staffed with licensed medical professionals—answers over 50 calls per month from women who want to keep their baby after having started the chemical abortion pill process.
Here’s the timeline of what happened: in 2012, the California Board of Registered Nursing gave approval for Heartbeat as a CEU provider. Heartbeat then began offering credit for education on Abortion Pill Reversal online and at its annual conference.
So far, so good.
But in late 2015, an activist with Rewire.com, Nicole Knight, joined California State Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) to pressure the Board into auditing Heartbeat. As Hobbs reports:
According to emails obtained through Heartbeat’s public records request, Knight and representatives from both NARAL and avowedly pro-abortion UC San Francisco insisted that Board officials take action against Heartbeat and its fellow pro-life pregnancy help groups, Care Net and National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA).
Hill concurrently created legislation to try to disqualify all courses on Abortion Pill Reversal from receiving course credit. Although the law went into effect in 2016, it ultimately failed to disqualify the training.
Then, on July 28, 2017, the Board confirmed Heartbeat’s ability to offer CEU credit for the coursework.
On August 14, Knight contacted the Board to verify that it indeed had given the July confirmation. That prompted one high-ranking official to warn fellow administrators, “This issue has the potential to go viral.”
Spencer Walker, an attorney with the state’s Department of Consumer Affairs, sent a memo to Dr. Joseph Morris, executive officer of the nursing board, on August 14, warning the Board not to target Heartbeat. He denied the pro-abortion argument that abortion pill reversal was not science-based, writing:
The concept of abortion pill reversal is clearly science-based, and a registered nurse would likely be involved in the indirect care of a patient seeking abortion pill reversal assistance through education or other means. Therefore, the board could be exposed to litigation if it prohibits continuing education providers from offering courses in abortion pill reversal.
Even before that, in July 2017, Yale School of Medicine’s Dr. Harvey Kliman, speaking with The New York Times, said the protocol “makes biological sense,” allowing he would recommend the treatment to his own daughter.
Nevertheless, on September 5, 2017, the board reversed its own decision. On September 8, Rewire.com published a report noting that the Board had reversed itself and now banned Heartbeat from offering CEUs for any coursework related to Abortion Pill Reversal.
Heartbeat then appealed the decision and placed a public records request showing the coordination and influence from abortion lobbyists, including NARAL, Pro-Choice America, and Rewire.com.
The new decision permits Heartbeat to immediately resume offering CEU credit for an online course and for a workshop at its 2018 conference titled, “The Latest on Abortion Pill Reversal,” taught by Dr. George Delgado — one of two physicians who pioneered the treatment starting in 2007.
Heartbeat president Jor-El Godsey, who had referred to the Board’s decision in September as a “naked political attack,” was relieved that the Board resisted the pressure from pro-abortion forces. He stated, “Whatever a person’s stance on abortion, knowledge of this critical protocol is too important to withhold from nurses. We're glad that the Board of Nursing acted in the best interest of their noble and caring profession today.”
This decision allows us to continue to spread the word that it is possible to reverse the abortion pill. It also supports our endeavor to further equip the pro-life medical community to serve as agents of hope to our hotline callers desperately seeking a second chance at life for their unborn. The “second choice” we offer women who change their minds after taking mifepristone not only gives their unborn babies a fighting chance, it also provides an avenue for emotional and spiritual healing. We are grateful to Heartbeat International for their tireless efforts to make Abortion Pill Reversal accessible to pro-life advocates and to the women they serve who may benefit from this life-saving treatment.