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Doctors with no limits

DIY abortions in the UK, Africa, and across the borders


Published: 25 March 2021 (GMT+10)
A scan is an image of the baby in the womb

“First do no harm”, or words with similar meaning, are part of the Hippocratic Oath taken by some physicians.1 Clearly, this is a good thing for doctors to vow. Unfortunately, it is not always applied.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)—Doctors Without Borders—is an international, independent medical humanitarian organisation that undoubtedly does good work in many areas. Item 1 of the Chantilly Principles states: “MSF was founded to contribute to the protection of life and the alleviation of suffering out of respect for human dignity”.2 However, their stance on abortion makes it clear they only care about protecting life outside the womb.3 MSF promotes abortion even in areas where the majority of women do not want it, such as in parts of Africa where fertility and having many children is valued.4

A safety issue?

Also, in these third-world areas, there are very basic, urgent medical needs—abortion is not a medical need.5 For instance, would the financial means and human endeavour not be better invested in combatting the high mortality rate in many African nations? Instead, under the guise of tackling unsafe abortions, MSF say they want to make it safe.6 In accordance with this, the World Health Organization (WHO) says, “Abortions are safe if they are done with a method recommended by WHO…”.7

However, abortions are never safe. The aim of an abortion is to end the life of at least one person—the baby (or babies). Often another person—the mother—experiences emotional trauma and/or physical complications.8 Obviously, it is also tragic that at least “22,000 women and girls die each year after having an unsafe abortion”,9 and around “7 million women are admitted to hospitals every year in developing countries, as a result of unsafe abortion”.10 What about the estimated induced abortions (read: intentionally killed babies) that happen worldwide every year? In a previous article I gave the definition of murder as follows:

The unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.

God cares deeply about the sanctity of life, and so should we. The problem is that in many nations, laws have been set up that go against the will of the Creator. For instance, in these countries abortion is not unlawful if a second ‘professional’ opinion is obtained agreeing with it. In 2019, 56,000,000 babies were killed (in 2020 it was 42.6 million), making it the leading cause of death worldwide.11,12

The unborn baby is a human being beyond any shadow of a doubt (see Psalm 139:13–16; Jeremiah 1:4–5). 96% of professors in the biology departments of over 1,000 institutions around America affirm that a human’s life begins at fertilization.13 Yet, 85% of these people are pro-abortion. This means that the vast majority of professors who are ok with aborting a baby admit to knowing that abortions end human life!

DIY abortion pills

A medical abortion is not ‘just taking a pill’

‘Do It Yourself’ (DIY) abortion pills—aka medical abortion—is contrary to surgical abortion. In short, DIY abortion consists of two different types of medication seeking to actively terminate a pregnancy, i.e. the baby. In some countries, these pills have been made available during the COVID-19 pandemic after a telephone conversation. Presumably this is to prevent people from travelling to clinics, so pregnant women can do an abortion in their homes. In the UK these tablets are (supposedly) only available if the gestation period is under 10 weeks—within the first quarter of the normal term.

The website How to use abortion pill states, “In countries where abortion is not restricted, most doctors recommend using the medications mifepristone and misoprostol in the first 11 weeks of a pregnancy” and it claims, “an abortion with pills is safe for women to use privately”.14,15 Despite it allegedly being “one of the safest medical procedures”, the same website warns that taking these pills might be harmful for nursing babies, and that you “need to be able to get there [the nearest 24 hour emergency medical centre] within 1 hour or less”. It then advises people in precarious situations (due to abortion being illegal in their country) to lie to the doctor on duty:

  • “I’m unsure what’s happening. I just started bleeding.
  • I’m bleeding, but it doesn’t feel like my normal period.
  • I just suddenly started bleeding and I’m afraid something is wrong.”

It is ironic that Doctors Without Borders take pride in themselves with statements like, “We will not be silenced. We share the facts”; but the reader should refer to their website where they advise patients (in some circumstances) not to tell the truth.6 They also erroneously state that medical (DIY) abortions do not cause mental health problems (but they should talk to ‘Sophie’—see below).

An inconvenient truth

What circumstances cause people to undergo an abortion? Here are the top six reasons given in the US:16

Percentage of womenPrimary reason for choosing an abortion
25.5% She wants to postpone childbearing
21.3% She cannot afford a baby
14.1% She has relationship problem or partner does not want pregnancy
12.2% She is too young; parent(s) or other(s) object to the pregnancy
10.8% Having a child will disrupt her education or employment
7.9% She wants no (more) children

Although the table above reflects statistics for the US (different reasons may exist in other places in the world), it is hard to come up with a reason that abortion proponents would think of as unacceptable. For example, where would you fit in somebody “not wanting to be pregnant on holiday”?17

During the period when DIY abortion pills were made available in the UK over the telephone, a ‘mystery client’18 contacted a provider of such tablets (in this case the British Pregnancy Advisory Service—BPAS) to obtain some for herself. In the dialogue that ensued, the reason above, given by the ‘pregnant’ woman, was answered by the consultant with, “any reason that you ever give is always going to be valid … but what I have to do is attach what you tell me to a legal reason. But any reason other than the sex of the baby is a valid reason to us” (more on the sex of the baby in the next section). The legal ‘reason’ attached was communicated as follows: “it sounds to me that the individual reason that you’re giving comes down to you just not being emotionally ready for a pregnancy right now.” Inconvenience is not the only reason to have an abortion (see the table above); a eugenics aspect (next section) is hard to deny.

Other ‘cancellations’

Although the BPAS does not allow abortion based on the sex of the baby, it is not so in China.19 Such practices face some feminists with a dilemma, because they might proclaim that women and girls should have the right to choose the fate of their unborn baby. However, in China, more baby girls are being aborted than boys (although this may change now the ‘one child per family’ policy is no longer in force). In 2001, the ratio of boys to girls was 1.17, i.e. 17% higher than expected.20 Although illegal in China, more girls than boys were aborted.21 Was it because in some instances a second child was allowed if the first one was a girl? This is not likely.

It is not only the sex of the baby that can be known prior to birth. It is also possible to find out if the baby will have Down’s syndrome. Shockingly, on average 92% of these people are aborted each year in England and Wales.22

The negative consequences of a DIY abortion

Many women are mentally affected by an abortion

Sophie (not her real name) needed emergency surgery after taking DIY abortion pills at home.23 She is not alone; 2% of women who have taken DIY abortion pills suffer complications.24 These are not ‘just pills’. Although a nurse, ‘Sophie’ was ill-informed about the path she had chosen to walk:

“The thing is, from my experience, we’re not giving women a choice. Choice is when you give a woman all the facts, you treat her like an intelligent human being and respect her, so that she can make an informed decision.
“But I was never really given full choice. Certain information was never disclosed to me – I’ve had to look it up later. And when I asked why they never told me, they said, ‘it would be cruel to a woman to tell her, it’s already a very difficult choice, it would be cruel to go into detail’. But that means you’re only given half the facts.
“Do we really think that’s acceptable? Keeping women in the dark in order to make their decision ‘easier’? That’s not a choice then, is it?”25

She adds, “Even if people don’t see this as an ethical issue, it’s still not telling the whole truth”, and later says, “I want people to realise that we can’t just take the information they’re feeding us at face value.” She now realises, “I’m never going to be able to meet my first child because I prevented it from happening.”

A caveat

The subject of abortion is a highly emotive one and the teaching of CMI, based on Scripture, is clearly pro-life.26 There is no neutral position. I’ve heard it said, “Personally, I wouldn’t do it”, but that is a cop-out. “Personally, I wouldn’t rob a bank” is not a neutral stance to the question, “is robbing a bank a good or a bad thing?”. ‘Sophie’ has modified her views somewhat but she said in her interview, “I’d say I’m pro-choice for other people out there, but for myself, it’s not something I’d ever do [again]”. In other words, despite her horrendous ordeal, her view on abortion has not done a 180.27

The answer is not to make abortions safer (as said earlier, an abortion is certainly not safe for the baby); no, abortion is murder. Rather, let’s help both mother and baby as best as we possibly can.

For the Church, this means not ostracising someone who has undergone an abortion or has contemplated it. It is perfectly possible to embrace a sinner without embracing the sin. So let someone who has had an abortion embrace you; let someone who is going through a difficult time and wondering whether to keep her baby hug you. Jesus turned the tables on the self-righteous; let’s turn the tables on what the world expects Christians to do, and instead be like Jesus.

References and notes

  1. Not all physicians. Some may take a different oath, and some might take none. Either way, it seems intuitive, if not self-evident, that any medical person should aim to follow these simple words to the best of their ability. Return to text.
  2. See: Who are the medecins sans frontieres, http://association.msf.org/sites/default/files/documents/Principles%20Chantilly%20EN.pdf Return to text.
  3. This particular organisation (MSF) may seem singled out, but the hypocrisy extends beyond. Return to text.
  4. The Christian Institute, African women don’t want abortion, documentary reveals, Christian.org.uk, 15 March 2019. See a BBC interview (starting at 1:30) with Obianuju Ekeocha: Logan, A.B., Pro-Life African Woman Wrecks BBC News Anchor In Abortion Debate (REACTION), youtube.com, 18 July 2017. Return to text.
  5. The rare case of ectopic pregnancy, where a baby is growing outside the womb and must be removed in order to save the woman’s life, is not abortion, because the ending of the baby’s life is an unfortunate by-product of saving the mother’s life, and not the goal of the procedure. Of course if future medical advances make it possible to save these often-wanted babies, we would praise God for that. Return to text.
  6. MSF, Safe abortion access for all who need it, doctorswithoutborders.org, 23 January 2020. Return to text.
  7. WHO, Abortion: overview, who.int/health-topics/abortion#tab=tab_1, accessed 2 March 2021. Return to text.
  8. Although beyond the scope of this article, the father is not necessarily immune to a troubled mind. Return to text.
  9. MSF, Unsafe abortion: a forgotten emergency, doctorswithoutborders.org, 7 March 2019. Return to text.
  10. WHO, Preventing unsafe abortion, who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/preventing-unsafe-abortion, 25 September 2020. Return to text.
  11. SPUC news, 42.6 million abortions in 2020 – the leading cause of death worldwide, spuc.org.uk; accessed 18 February 2021. Return to text.
  12. Compare with CoViD-19 deaths from 23 January 2020 to 22 January 2021: 2,122,053. See www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/worldwide-graphs/#case-timeline. Return to text.
  13. Jacobs, S., I Asked Thousands of Biologists When Life Begins. The Answer Wasn’t Popular, quillette.com/2019/10/16/i-asked-thousands-of-biologists-when-life-begins-the-answer-wasnt-popular, 16 October 2019. Return to text.
  14. HowToUseAbortionPill, About medical abortion, howtouseabortionpill.org/about, accessed 5 March 2021. Return to text.
  15. A Dutch abortion organisation (StiSAN) warns against providing such pills beyond 10 weeks. Return to text.
  16. Wikipedia, Abortion in the United States, wikipedia.org, accessed 2 March 2021. Return to text.
  17. Seriously, see: Christian Concern, Abortion for ‘any reason’ other than sex-selection, says BPAS, christianconcern.com, 28 July 2020. Return to text.
  18. This is somebody who pretends to be interested in the service or product provided, to later provide feedback to the person or organisation who hired him/her. Think of it as an undercover investigator. Return to text.
  19. Also New Zealand (see: Family First, Abortion Legislation Act 2020 – Here’s how extreme it is…, familyfirst.org.nz, accessed 2 March 2021., and for instance Australia’s Victoria (see: Sheehan, C., Qld abortion law will allow targeting girls, catholicweekly.com.au, 12 September 2018. Return to text.
  20. Hesketh, T., et al., The Effect of China’s One-Child Family Policy after 25 Years, NEJM 353(11):1171–1176, 15 September 2005. Return to text.
  21. In other words, what happened in practice did not reflect what the law prescribed. Return to text.
  22. The Christian Institute, World Down Syndrome Day: Standing with the 92 per cent, Christian.org.uk, 21 March 2016. Return to text.
  23. Swerling, G., Nurse criticises judges over ‘DIY abortion’ ruling after ‘excruciating pain’ requiring surgery, telegraph.co.uk, 13 October 2020. Return to text.
  24. 2% applies for 0–7 weeks, above that, the percentage increases, according to HowToUseAbortionPill, Medical Abortion with Pills Between 10-11 Weeks of Pregnancy, howtouseabortionpill.org/abortion-pill-between-10-and-11-weeks, accessed 2 March 2021. Return to text.
  25. Moffet, R., Home abortion: ‘I don’t want anyone to suffer like I did’, christianconcern.com, 19 February 2021. Return to text.
  26. All proponents and opponents of abortion are able to hold their view because they are alive to do so. Return to text.
  27. Living Waters, 180, 180movie.com, accessed 2 March 2021. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Is Human Life Special?
by Gary Bates and Lita Cosner
US $3.50
Soft Cover
Life Before Birth
by Gary E Parker
US $13.00
Hard Cover
US $10.00

Readers’ comments

Nicholas S.
We are all aware life is a continuum. Before conception, potential offspring. At conception, from the first day 3 billion information DNA gift from the male human father and female human mother for the developing new baby (male or female). Continue developing human being to birth. Continue developing human being, to between 20's to 30's (dependent upon individual), to complete development of the prefrontal cortex of the brain i.e. human being development fruition completion. Holistically, we are human from conception to completion. Very straightforward. The new baby is innocent of and cannot be held accountable for the circumstances/actions/misfortune/regrettable decisions/aggression of either forbears/parents. The baby is not responsible and has no malice in his or her self. The new baby cannot be punished by being deliberately aborted, provoked/promoted miscarriage/deliberately producing stillbirth. In all events also, at any period before birth, life is life, we are developing human beings. We, as with many millions of others, have wept and wept tears, sorrow upon sorrow in prayers for this situation, of the abhorrence of abortion. For us, we are thankful and grateful that we were born. To have a precious life. To have survived what was in the past (e.g. 1940's, 50's, 60's) the most common concern, the tragedy of miscarriage/stillborn. To instead survive, to have a possible, potential future, to hopefully make a good difference on this present earth. Thankfully, although absolutely a tragedy, all who were not born to life, are however absolutely unaccountable and are in Heaven in Eternal Life and Eternal Future within our Salvation Gift from Jesus.  We pray that we are also kept blameless I Thessalonians 5:23. Keeping short accounts with God 1 John 1:9. TY Lucien, CM
Lucien Tuinstra
We do have to keep in mind though, that everybody is born with a sinful nature. In fact, conceived as such (see Psalm 51:5). This, of course, goes back to our ancestor Adam (see, for instance, Romans 5:12; 18-19).
Jimmy C.
I think one day, when these who have aborted children stand at the judgement seat of Jesus, they will be confronted with the child they aborted. That will be a sorrowful time.
Lois M.
Lucien, thank you for your well written article!
Bill P.
If it is allowed this is for Marcia M. of G.B. I am the earthly father of a child that was aborted during the early 1980's. (shortly after that The Lord had mercy on me and saved me). To this day I still think about what I did to the child. I think of King David of Israel who lost his child because of his sin against GOD, and how he prayed and fasted hoping that The Lord God might change His mind about taking the child. The Lord still took the child as you know and King David stopped fasting. Those around him did not understand why he stopped fasting and praying concerning the child and as you know his answer to them was, "while the child was still alive I did those things in hopes The Lord would allow the child to live. The Lord still took the child. My child can not come to me BUT, one day I will go to where the child is now".
I've learned and taken comfort in the truth that The Lord's mercy is beyond measure and for all of us who put our trust in The Unique Son of God and what He did on that cross The Lord is faithful in forgiving those who confess their sin against Him. I do not know if I was to have a son or daughter BUT I do know because of our Savior's grace and mercy you and I will see our child and have no doubt it will be a joyful reunion.
To this day I regret what I did back then, (you are correct it is murder) but I do look forward to that reunion and those things you and I have both missed (the hugs, chatter, etc.) we have an eternity future awaiting us to dwell w/our Lord forever and to enjoy an eternity of hugs and love w/our children who I have no doubt also look forward to the reunion we will enjoy forever.
God is faithful to ALL of His promises He paid the price for our sins. See you there w/our Lord and our children.
TY CMI for sharing.
Douglas W.
There are passages in the Jewish Bible/Old Testament which mention this subject; but Exodus 21:22-25 is by far the most important.
Exodus 21:22-25 “If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows.
23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life,
24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.
About a year ago, a discussion with a CMI writer led me to think again and change my views - as seen in my Blogs. It clearly is viewed as murder. Husbands are affected - I have stood with a crying man, in our main street in such a predicament.
Tim L.
Stories like Marcia's (from the comments) are truly heartbreaking. Thinking about this stuff routinely causes me to tear up.

Also, because I despise the euphemisms, I've begun making it a practice to use "murder" or "murder of unborn babies" instead of the euphemistic term "abortion".
Marcia M.
Aged 18, in the middle of nurse training, I became pregnant whilst on the pill. My boyfriend was apoplectic. In a mist of youthful ignorance, desperation and fear of the future, I had an abortion.It was unexplained - I hadn't heard of (let alone understood, coming from an abused childhood) the concept of informed consent till many lectures later - quick and painless. The boyfriend moved on.
I became a Christian in 1992 and finally understood the magnitude of my actions as the child I never had gained my attention.The words 'I never meet my first child because I murdered her' haunt me to this day: I mourn for her & miss her hugs, chatter and everything about her.
Philip P.
Great advice.

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