Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 71(4) November 2021

Abortion Pill Reversal: an update

Dr KearneyWe have already reported [1,2] on the news that two UK Doctors, are currently under investigation by the General Medical Council because they offered to help women wh    o were seeking Abortion Pill Reversal. One of those is Dr Dermot Kearney our immediate past-President.

The doctors were reaching out to pregnant women who changed their minds after taking a pill to abort their unborn babies. There has been considerable coverage in the mainstream media and elsewhere about all this [3-6]

Many women in the UK have become regretful after taking the first of two abortion pills and turned to the internet for help, looking up terms such as ‘abortion pill reversal’ and after speaking to trained nurses, have then been put in touch with UK medics such as Dr Kearney who are prepared to prescribe a course of progesterone in an attempt to save the baby.

How many have sought help?

Between June 2020 and April 2021 around 150 women approached pro-life doctors for help after they regretted taking the first dose of the abortion pill. Dr Kearney reports that around 90 women contacted him and of these 90 women, 70 went on to take the suggested progesterone and of these 70 women, 12 went on to deliver healthy babies and another 25 are in various stages of gestation, giving a success rate of 50%.

Does progesterone work?

Progesterone is not always going to be effective, but there is a strong view that women who change their minds after commencing the chemical abortion process ought to be allowed the chance to change their minds. And substantial evidence from America suggests that it increases the foetal survival rate in women who have taken the first (mifepristone) pill but do not take the second (Misoprostol) pill from 25% to 50% [2,7].

Abortion is considered a safe procedure and for the mother that is generally true with major complication rates between 0.11% and 0.16% and mortality rates of 0.62 per 100,000 in the United States. But despite that, approximately 14 of every 100,000 Emergency Department visits among women aged 15 to 49 years, are for care after an abortion, with for a chief complaint related to induced abortion.1. that represents large number and the commonest complaints are bleeding (5% of ED attendees need transfusion) fever, and cramping ad pain. [6] So actually, complications and bleeding are more common after abortion than many would think. And except for when the procedure does not work, the baby always dies of course.

CitizenGo [7] reported that “Since the introduc­tion of abortion pills by post many women are reporting feeling rushed into an abortion without adequate care or consultation. It is not surprising that women are experiencing regret when they receive abortion pills literally within days of first contacting an abortion provider without ever speaking to a doctor. Thy also stated that An estimated 495 women per month require emergency treatment after taking the abortion pill at home.

The doctors who are being investigated are currently not able to provide this treatment for women who seek it, and as a result, support for that group of women is (usually or always we think) unavailable. And yet the use of progesterone is not illegal. It has long been licensed in the UK to support threatened early pregnancies. While it is true that it was not originally licenced specifically for the purpose of abortion reversal, neither it is uncommon for other drugs to be used for purposes for which they were not licensed. And US data suggests that follow up of over 200 pregnancies shows a very low rate of congenital abnormalities in the babies who survive.

It is also worth noting that Misoprostol, the second pill taken in a chemical abortion is not authorised for use as a chemical abortifacient either.

So there is currently a real gap in provision for women who regret initiating a medical abortion after having taken the first pill and before taking the next one. Women in such a circumstance have nowhere to go.

Sign the petition is you wish

CitizenGo [7] has a petition that those who wish to can sign. The petition asks the GMC to drop the charges against Dr Kearney and for NHS England to consider trialling or allowing this treatment.


We are grateful to CitizenGo for their work on this issue and for some of the source material.


  1.  Abortion Pill Reversal. Catholic Medical Quarterly, Volume 71(2) May 2021
  2. Treloar A, Abortion Pill Reversal: Effective care that exposes the “Pro-Choice” deception
    Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 71(3) August 2021.
  3. Woman felt scared and pressured by Marie Stopes when quizzed about abortion reversal.
  4. MSI told me to report doctor who tried to save my baby.­told-me-to-report-doctor-who-tried-to-save-my-baby/
  5. Catholic doctors under investigation about abortion reversal.
  6. Banned from reversing abortions.
  7. Delgado G, et al. A case series detailing the successful reversal of the effects of mifepristone using Progesterone. Issues in Law and Medicine (2018) 33(1): 21-31
  8. Michelle H. Orlowski, William E. Soares, Kathleen A. Kerrigan, Matthew L. Zerden (2020), Management of Postabortion Complications for the Emergency Medicine Clinician. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 77: (2): p221-232, february 01, 2021