September 1, 2021

Corruption: Abortion Pill Study Author Paid By Pill Manufacturer

In a situation that unfortunately isn't all that uncommon, JAMA Network Open published a study last week claiming that the telehealth distribution of abortion pills during the COVID-19 pandemic has been safe. The catch? The study was co-authored by a doctor who was paid directly by the abortion pill manufacturer.

Before the pandemic, the FDA enforced a set of regulations called the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) on the distribution of abortion pills. These regulations required recipients of abortion pills to meet in person with a doctor before receiving pills. Doing so allowed doctors to correctly date a pregnancy and diagnose any potential conditions such as ectopic pregnancy. If the baby developed past a certain gestational age or there is an ectopic pregnancy, then taking the abortion pill regimen could put the mother's life at risk.

REMS guidelines were put on hold during the pandemic, and the FDA is currently considering whether they will come back at all.

While several of the study's authors have ties to pro-abortion organizations, Dr. Karen Meckstroth has the most direct conflict of interest. The authors even noted such in a disclosure. Meckstroth is the director of Women's Options Center, an abortion business that conducts abortion as late as 23 weeks gestation. The clinic is also a site for a pharmacy-dispensed abortion pill clinic trial.

The study's disclosure reads, “Dr. Meckstroth reported receiving personal fees from Danco, Inc, a distributor of mifepristone, for staffing a US Food and Drug Administration–mandated expert hotline. The mifepristone used in this care was purchased from GenBioPro, not Danco. No other disclosures were reported.”