The following comes from a July 21 story in the Weekly Standard.
George Delgado, M.D. is a family-practice physician in San Diego, California. His credentials seem quite respectable: He’s a 1988 graduate of the University of California-Davis’s medical school, and he has admitting privileges at Scripps Mercy Hospital, a well-regarded San Diego facility, and the Palomar Health Downtown Hospital Campus. A devout Catholic, he styles his two offices (one is in nearby Escondido), where he practices with two other physicians “Culture of Life Family Healthcare”—a name obviously designed to appeal to other Catholics.
Delgado is currently under the klieg lights of hostile media because, among many other general-practice services, he offers pregnant women who have started a non-surgical abortion and change their minds a few hours or days later a chance to reverse the procedure. The “abortion pill” (actually two pills) accounts for about 25 percent of all abortions before the ninth week. It has two stages. In the first, the women takes an oral dose of mifepristone (old name: RU-486), a drug that blocks the uterine lining from receiving progesterone, the female hormone that nourishes the fertilized egg. Then, between 36 and 72 hours later she takes a second drug, misoprostol, that causes contractions and expels the embryo.
Delgado’s strategy is to give women who have taken the mifepristone but then have second thoughts an injection of extra progesterone to compete with the mifepristone for the woman’s progesterone receptors and if successful, allow the pregnancy to continue. In 2012 Delgado and a colleague published a paper about the technique in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy, a peer-reviewed print and online journal.
The tone of the paper was cautious; it reported that four out of six women who had taken progesterone had reversed the effects of the mifepristone (a seventh woman failed to follow up with Delgado). According to the abstract, a progesterone “may reverse the effects of mifepristone.”
Perhaps on the strength of Delgado’s paper, hundreds of pro-life doctors around the country have been offering women this second chance to remain pregnant, and Delgado now heads an Abortion Reversal Group of about 350 medical professionals who administer the technique (he also says he has a broader study of about 900 women who have taken progesterone in the works). All within the rubric of reproductive rights and a woman’s choice whether or not to abort, it would seem.
Then, in 2015 legislative bills in two states, Arizona and North Carolina, would have required abortion doctors to inform their patients that they might be able to reverse the procedure. The bills generated a firestorm of horror at the very idea of terminating an abortion.
“[S]hoddy medical counseling,” said the Atlantic.
“[V]ery well may stop those who want a non-surgical abortion from ever seeking one out in the first place, cried Cosmopolitan
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists weighed in to call the technique scientifically unproven (in fact, taking mifepristone alone is ineffective in about 46 percent of cases, studies show).
When Louisiana considered a similar bill in 2016, the Daily Beast denounced abortion reversal as “bogus science.”
Arizona passed but later repealed its law and the North Carolina bill is stalled in committee, but Arkansas and South Dakota now have the laws on their books, and four more states are currently considering bills This has generated alarmed articles in Mother Jones, the Chicago Tribune, and most recently Marie Claire. The Marie Claire article contains at least five references to the Catholic faith of Delgado and other physicians who perform abortion reversals and includes a photo of the “Catholic iconography” (a statue of Mother Teresa, among other things) in the waiting room of Delgado’s Escondido office….