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California nursing board denies continuing-ed credit for abortion pill reversal course

10 Rebekah Buell and son Zechariah PAGERebekah Buell and son Zechariah at the 2015 Walk for Life West Coast. (Photo by Jose Aguirre/Catholic San Francisco)

September 28, 2017
Valerie Schmalz
Catholic San Francisco

Heartbeat International can no longer offer nurses continuing education credit for a course that teaches the procedure for saving the baby after a woman has taken the first of the abortion pills for a chemical abortion.

“This is a huge thing. It demonstrates the fact that is not about choice and the abortion lobby is not about choice. They are about abortion,” said Jay Hobbs, director of marketing and communications, a pregnancy help network with 1,350 affiliates in the U.S. and 2,200 worldwide. The Columbus, Ohio based network sought and received California certification for its 34 continuing education courses in 2012 because California’s standards are accepted throughout the U.S.

Heartbeat on Sept. 15 filed a state public records request, a preliminary step toward appealing the decision and the state has 10 business days to respond so Heartbeat should receive a response by Sept. 29, Hobbs said.

Approximately 270,000 medication or chemical abortions occurred in 2014, 31 percent of all abortions in the U.S., according to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research institute.

“My heart really breaks for those girls who are going to walk out of an abortion clinic and change their mind or at least have a second thought about what they just started,” said Rebekah Buell, whose son Zechariah, now 4, was saved through the abortion pill reversal procedure. Buell googled RU-486 on her smart phone when she left the Sacramento-area Planned Parenthood clinic and was connected by Culture of Life Family Services’ abortionpillreversal.com’s helpline nurse to a doctor who started her on the therapy to counteract RU-486. She spoke at the Walk for Life West Coast in 2015.

Approximately 55 percent of women who have sought help have been successful in saving their babies, said Dr. George Delgado, medical director of Culture of Life Family Services, in an August blog post at abortionpillreversal.com.

The California state Board of Registered Nursing sent Heartbeat International a Sept. 5 letter revoking its approval, granted one month earlier, for Heartbeat to offer an online video course by Dr. Delgado about the abortion pill reversal procedure. In August, the board had approved the course, after a 17-month audit of Heartbeat sparked by San Mateo Democratic Assembly Member Jerry Hill and the pro-abortion online news organization Rewire.

In its letter, the California nursing board demanded that Heartbeat International “cease and desist” from offering nurses continuing education units for Abortion Pill Reversal classes or lose California certification to offer continuing education credit for nurses. Heartbeat has stopped offering the online course for credit, but continues to offer it as a video course for no credit, Hobbs said.

In response to a query from Catholic San Francisco about why the board reversed itself, state Department of Consumer Affairs deputy director of communications Veronica R. Harms wrote in an email Sept. 21, “Additional questions have been raised regarding whether the course satisfies the board’s requirements for continuing education. The board will be discussing its continuing education requirements at an upcoming board meeting.” Harms said a date has not been set but she expects the meeting to be in early October.

Women undergoing medical, rather than surgical, abortions in the first nine weeks of pregnancy take two courses of the pill 48 hours apart. For the reversal, doctors administer mega-doses of progesterone to act as an antidote to mifepristone, replacing the progesterone that the mifepristone blocks, Delgado said. Progesterone is necessary for pregnancy.

Delgado is co-author with Bay Area obstetrician Dr. Mary Davenport of a medical journal article on RU-486 reversals, “Progesterone Use to Reverse the Effects of Mifepristone,” published in the December 2012 issue of The Annals of Pharmacotherapy. The paper looked at a small sample and found four of six women’s pregnancies were saved with the therapy. Delgado developed the protocol now in use.

Over 350 doctors nationally have joined the Abortion Pill Reversal network, while 300 mothers have successfully rescued their children from abortion through the medical intervention most in the last five years since the procedure has been publicized more widely, Delgado said.

The flap over continuing education credits is just the latest battle in a struggle encapsulated in a July 18 New York Times article headlined “New Front in the War Over Reproductive Rights: ‘Abortion-Pill Reversal.” Pro-abortion advocates say the newly developed procedure is unproven scientifically, a position supported by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Amy Everitt, state director of advocacy group NARAL Pro-Choice California, contended abortion reversal therapy “is another vehicle for putting pressure and shame on women,” in a May 23 Sacramento Bee article.

“I would call it new science, not junk science,” said Delgado. Biologically, it makes sense because when “two molecules compete for a receptor, if you increase the concentration of one it will win out,” he said. He also cited an animal study on rats in Japan that demonstrated the effects of mifepristone are reversed by progesterone.

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