Tuesday, April 2, 2024

#2754: George Delgado et al.

Medical abortion is usually accomplished by taking two medications: mifepristone and then, later, misoprostol. If you want to know the exact mechanisms, look them up, but at least mifepristone works by blocking progesterone, which is needed to allow a fertilized egg to latch on and develop. Now, George Delgado has invented something he calls “Abortion Pill Reversal” based on the idea that a massive dose of progesterone taken after mifepristone (but before the misoprostol) could prevent contractions and reverse the first step of medical abortion. The procedure, known as “abortion reversal”, has no credible evidence to support it; Delgado claims that “our success rates with our most effective protocols are 65–70 percent survival”, but those figures are founded on a study (by Delgado and Mary Davenport) with six individuals and according to real medicine, mifepristone alone without misoprostol has no more than a 50–70 percent chance of terminating a pregnancy. Delgado’s study is, in other words, meaningless. And importantly, his procedure, large doses of progesterone, can have negative side effects.


But there is money in it! There is, since Delgado and his scheme have the backing of deranged and delusional wingnut fundie politicians. In Utah, for instance, state Representative Keven Stratton and state Senator Curt Bramble introduced a bill in 2016 mandating that doctors inform all women seeking abortion care of the procedure, despite the procedure’s worthlessness. Confronted with the lack of scientific backing, Stratton and Bramble admitted that they are not necessarily experts on the matter either. “We’re not doctors,” said Stratton. And no, you’re not: Shithead fundie loons are what you are. (Of course, as of 2023, state legislatures have other and more effective options for dissuading women from seeking abortions, though Utah has, at the time of writing, not managed to ban abortions outright.)


Diagnosis: Pure pseudoscience, and like so much pseudoscience, motivated by religious fundamentalism and ideology. Though not as scientifically bankrupt as, say, Theresa Deisher’s antivaccine nonsense, the similarities are there, and Delgado’s nonsense have the potential to cause real harm.

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