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Google pulling ads on abortion reversal and links to videos called 'unjust'

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WASHINGTON — "Abortion pill reversal facts," said the Google ad from the pro-life group Live Action, which is based in Arlington. "We may be able to help you."

The ad, which had run since July 21 and on which Live Action had spent more than $56,000, was yanked by Google in September for "unreliable claims."

Another series of ads, targeted to Google users in Texas and costing Live Action more than $24,000, was launched in August and linked to a series of videos, one of which showed the development of a fetus in the mother's womb. Google rejected these, too, in September.

On Dec. 8, two dozen members of Congress from both the House and Senate submitted a letter, hand-delivered to Google CEO Sundar Pichai by Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., demanding Google reverse its decision.

"Google pretty much shut down all the ads we had running. So hopefully they're feeling some pressure and they will reverse their unjust move," Noah Brandt, director of government affairs for Live Action, told Catholic News Service.

"It is anti-choice and morally wrong," Lila Rose, the founder of Live Action, said in a statement about the Google decision.

Google did not respond to a CNS query for comment.

The lawmakers' letter said Google's decision "is denying life-saving information to thousands of women who want to save their unborn child's lives from a tragic decision they regret."

"Google continues to allow ads for purveyors of the deadly abortion pill mifepristone by mail, despite the fact this drug has resulted in at least 24 mothers' tragic deaths and at least 1,042 mothers being sent to the hospital," the letter said. "Google' double standard on abortion is disingenuous and an egregious abuse of its enormous market power to protect the billion-dollar abortion industry."

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., sent an additional letter accusing Google of appearing "to have taken a page out of the progressive left playbook and has started targeting pregnancy resource centers and pro-life activist organizations for disfavor."

Medical abortion was approved by the FDA in 2000, and the reversal process was first tested in 2007.

The American College of Obstetricians, cited by Google in its decision, calls the reversal process "unproven and unethical," adding: "Politicians are pushing legislation to require physicians to recite a script that a medication abortion can be 'reversed' with doses of progesterone, and to steer women to this care."

"Unfounded legislative mandates represent dangerous political interference and compromise patient care and safety," the organization said.

According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, medical abortions accounted for 44% of reported abortions in the United States in 2019, the last year for which complete data is available.

It consists of a two-drug regimen — mifepristone and misoprostol — used to end a pregnancy during the first 10 weeks.

Mifepristone is taken first to block the body's progesterone and stop the pregnancy from advancing. Then a day or two later, this is followed by misoprostol, which causes cramping and bleeding to empty the uterus.

Expulsion of the dead fetus, the Charlotte Lozier Institute observes, usually occurs at home, outside any clinical setting.

Advocates for the reversal of a medical abortion emphasize the method has to be done quickly if a woman changes her mind about proceeding with the medical abortion after she has taken the mifepristone. A high-dose progesterone protocol would be administered after a woman has taken the abortion pill.

For the reversal process to work, a woman is prescribed progesterone preferably within 24 hours of taking the first drug.

Essential for a healthy pregnancy, progesterone is commonly used to prevent premature births and its effects will "outnumber and outcompete the mifepristone," the institute states, adding that this treatment usually continues through the first trimester of pregnancy.

According to the National Right to Life Committee's State Legislation Department, 14 states have an informed consent law requiring abortion facilities to inform a woman prior to, or soon after, taking the first drug for a chemical abortion that it may be possible to reverse the effects of the abortion.

On Jan. 28, Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., introduced the Second Chance at Life Act, which would make this informed consent these states require a federal law.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021