A full six years after an anecdotal seven-woman study convinced Dr. George Delgado—and gullible state lawmakers—that “abortion reversal” was a medically sensible procedure, the spindly regret-monger in a lab coat has released a long-promised follow-up study. It appears Wednesday in Issues of Law and Medicine, a sober-sounding semi-annual journal that nevertheless publishes such medical luminaries as Theresa Deisher, a major figure in the anti-vaccination movement, and Joel Brind, an endocrinologist best known for aggressively promoting the false claim that induced abortion and breast cancer are linked.
As indicated on its website, Issues of Law and Medicine is co-sponsored by the National Legal Center for the Medically Dependent & Disabled—a group founded by anti-choice attorney James Bopp Jr.—as well as the Watson Bowes Research Institute, a member of the National Association for Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists. If you’re interested in reading more about how Issues obscures its links to the anti-choice movement and influences policy, Rewire ran an excellent summary recently.
Delgado, who began to publicly oppose abortion in the ‘90s after reading Pope Paul VI’s “Human Vitae,” conducted this long-promised follow-up using anecdotal evidence collected from his own “abortion reversal” hotline. Of the 754 patients who called seeking the hormone progesterone to counteract the first dose of a medical abortion within 72 hours, Delgado found that 48 percent were able to continue their pregnancies. Using this data, which was collected over the years since 2012, Delgado concluded the method was “both safe and effective.”
Leaving aside the anecdotal nature of the study—and the fact that it appears in an anti-choice journal known for publishing pseudoscientific studies as fact, and that this analysis comes years after abortion reversal bills have already been introduced and passed in states including Idaho, Arkansas, South Dakota and Utah—Delgado also notes in the Washington Post that a handful of women were unable to participate because the researchers, uh, lost track of them after awhile.
There is no word yet, given the six-year scope of the study, whether there are negative effects in the long term. The jury also appears to be out on whether it’s good or bad to give women in vulnerable positions advice about largely untested injections.