Analysis Religion

May It Displease the Court: Corporations Use “Operation Rescue”-Style Tactics To Oppose Abortion

Robin Marty & Jessica Mason Pieklo

Physical "rescues" were meant to harass clinics out of existence. The new "civil disobedience" call of anti-choice corporations refusing to cover contraception and sterilization procedures even in the face of federal court order to the contrary is just the corporate version of this same sit-in tactic.

The year 2013 is the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and legalized abortion in all 50 states. It is also the year that forty-three complaints and counting against the Health and Human Services contraception mandate are working their way through the federal court system. How are the two related?  It’s simple.

Religious corporations are the new arm of the “rescue” movement.

In the early days of anti-choice activism in the late seventies and early eighties, when clinic “sit-ins” were introduced and made popular by leaders like John Cavanaugh O’Keefe and Samuel Lee, the protests at reproductive health providers were more reminiscent of the 60’s style civil rights movement that inspired the key players. Before they were deemed “rescues,” clinic protests were focused more on the act of civil disobedience and involved large groups that would block entries or enter clinics and refuse to leave until police presence would remove them from the property.

In the late seventies and early eighties, St. Louis, Missouri became the epicenter of the movement, and for a clear reason. According to James Risen and Judy Thomas in their book “Wrath of Angels: The American Abortion War,” a perfect storm of passionate anti-choice activists, law enforcement officials reluctant to participate, and a court system unwilling to prosecute turned small protests into a growing and incessant local movement. Police would refuse to respond to protest calls from local clinics, arriving only after an actual sit-in was underway and doors were blocked or protesters were already inside.

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The courts were no better. Risen and Thomas write:

While the police were dragging their feet, judges and juries continued to acquit  [Sam] Lee and the others on the basis of the necessity defense [the idea that breaking a law is allowable if it is performed in the act of stopping a more serious crime]; in some cases the charges were simply dropped or dismissed. St. Louis was full of conservative Catholic lawyers who were eager to represent the activists for free; ten to twenty attorneys from a local group called Lawyers for Life often were crowded around a defense table during cases related to sit–ins. Their success in the courts kept the activists coming back for more. Sam Lee was arrested fifty times before he was ever convicted. He never spent a night in jail until 1983, five years after his first sit-in.

Non-violent but massive sit-ins began to disappear in the city after the local Catholic Bishop spoke out against them, taking away the cloak of sanction and support from the Church that the original group possessed and deterring a number of the original activists, many of whom were leaders in the local right-to-life movement which was originally established as a wing of the National Council of Catholic Bishops. It was only after John Ryan continued on, eventually drawing together a more radical-leaning and bolder group of followers—among whom former Congressman Todd Akin was a member—that the more modern version of the “rescue” movement began.

Even once they became more aggressive, intimidating and militant, the groups had a two-pronged attack in their arsenal. The actions themselves were meant to stop abortions from happening at that moment, but the scale of the protests and attacks were developed as a means of clogging up a court system that was mostly unwilling to deal with them. One major leader of the rescue movement, Joan Andrews Bell—referred to often by her cohorts as “St. Joan of Newark” because of her frequent arrests—explained her new idea of non-cooperation both in being arrested and being held in jail as a way to slow down courts systems and become such a burden that no one would even bother with an arrest. Risen and Thomas write that at a 1985 Pro-Life Action Network (PLAN) conference hosted by Joe Scheidler and featuring John Ryan, Andrews said:

[M]aybe the way you can keep out of jail is by totally not cooperating. I would recommend that, while you are at the death chamber, to hold on, to try to prevent, non-violently, your removal. Once you are in the paddy wagon, or once you are in the jail, don’t cooperate. Be silent, go limp, don’t give your name…We should put the burden on the opposition,  those that are trying to prevent us from rescuing children… [W]hat jail would want you? …If they won’t keep you in jail you could come back week after week.

The potential burden, both in the court system and the prisons, was one at which the rescue movement became even more adept when Randall Terry began protesting clinics with his Operation Rescue followers staring in the late eighties. During the “Summer of Mercy” campaign in Wichita, Kansas in 1991, Peggy Bowman, former spokeswoman for Dr. George Tiller and his clinic during the protests, wrote in her 2005 memoir “Fetus Fanatics” that the sheer number of people involved, as well as the anti-abortion bent of the city’s leaders, were responsible for much of the chaos that surrounding the six-week long siege on the clinic. Bowman writes that prior to the event, the city officials tried to convince the clinics to close for a week to deter protesters and cut the costs that could be incurred by arrests, trials and jailing of anti-choice activists.  “The answer to the question ‘Why Wichita?’ had now taken on an additional explanation,” wrote Bowman. “In Wichita, Operation Rescue found police who could be intimidated.”

Bowman recounted the fliers that preceded the protests that were sent about the city which read: “OBEYING GOD’S WORD – Civil disobedience is not the issue – Biblical obedience to the command to rescue innocent unborn children from death is the issue. We must obey God rather than men.”

Obeying God meant tearing up injunctions telling them to allow women access to the clinic, and hundreds of arrests a day. Bowman writes that most of these arrests were released after an agreement to pay $25.00 in court costs, despite massive amounts the overall protest ended up costing the city in law enforcement and other issues. Just halfway into the siege Bowman reported that:

The costs to the city were now over a quarter of a million dollars. Arrests totaled nearly 1400 and it was not even the end of July. Police arrested some fetus fanatics as many as eight times. Only the first 288 had seen a judge, most were booked and released with a promise to pay $25 in court costs. The law allowed fines up to $500 on loitering charges or up to $1000 and six months in jail for trespassing. The courts acted as those laws didn’t exist. Acting on the [temporary restraining order] was non-existent.

The plot to jam the courts until they can no longer function is a tactic in the anti-arsenal as old as the movement itself. When theologian Francis Schaeffer, credited as one of the key influencers of drawing the Evangelical movement into the political scene by alerting them to the need to fight for their Biblical standard of social values, wrote his 1981 work “A Christian Manifesto,” one of the issues he commented on was the potential need to use civil disobedience in paying taxes as a way to protest abortion, a move that would no doubt bring the participant inevitably into the court system.

In our day, an illustration for the need of protest is tax money being used for abortion. After all the normal constitutional means of protest has been exhausted, then what could be done? At some point protest could lead some Christians to refuse to pay some portion of their tax money. Of course, this would mean a trial. Such a move would have to be the individual’s choice under God. No one should decide for another. But somewhere along the way, such a decision might easily have to be faced.  Happily, at the present time in the United States the Hyde Amendment has removed the use of national tax money for abortions, but that does not change the possibility that in some cases such a protest would be the only way to be heard. One can think, for example, of the tax money going to Planned Parenthood which is openly a propaganda agency for abortion.

Much like the early days of the anti-choice “rescue” movement, the initial court challenges against the contraception mandate have been pursued by Catholic corporations, schools and non-profits. They have since been joined by evangelical-owned for-profit businesses such as Hobby Lobby in a marriage of Christian-based activism and strategic corporate opportunity. 

It’s a resistance effort that requires wide-scale coordination, and that’s where organizations like The Becket Fund and the Thomas More Law Center come in. Organized as non-profit, public interest legal and educational businesses, these businesses are the legal force behind the carpet-bombing of lawsuits challenging the contraception mandate in federal court.

The strategy, though, is not just to blanket the legal system with lawsuits until the administration is too overwhelmed with defense costs to continue with the mandate, or until there’s enough conflicting rulings to guarantee review by a presumed-friendly Roberts Court, or both. Not satisfied to simply use the legal system to defend their clients’ perceived legal injuries in providing insurance coverage for contraception and related services, anti-choice litigators are counseling clients like Hobby Lobby to also actively defy both the administration and the federal court rulings ordering contraception coverage. Supporters compare the defiance to the Birmingham bus boycott where “good citizens finally got fed up with having their rights trampled on, and decided to challenge those who favor conformity over freedom” applauding the bravery of a corporation to take on financial penalties as the civil rights cause of our day.

That, in the end, is the goal of the anti-choice movement. Physical “rescues” were meant to harass clinics out of existence. The “civil disobedience” call of the anti-choice organizations refusing to cover contraception and sterilization procedures even in the face of federal court order to the contrary is just the corporate version of this same sit-in tactic.

However, because rescues have now become a corporate-driven enterprise they are necessarily more sanitized, and to sanitize the “rescue” anti-choice activists moved away from physical occupations to legal ones. This allows them the opportunity to control their message, something much more difficult when managing a physical sea of people. We see this in the copy-cat legal filings where the Becket Fund and the Thomas More Center file essentially the same brief in every challenge as a way to control the legal framing of the dispute in every federal circuit. And we see this when the messaging wing of the movement invokes Birmingham in a defense of Hobby Lobby and corporate opportunism.

First, corporations became people. Now, they are “rescue” protesters in their own right.

Analysis Law and Policy

Indiana Court of Appeals Tosses Patel Feticide Conviction, Still Defers to Junk Science

Jessica Mason Pieklo

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled patients cannot be prosecuted for self-inducing an abortion under the feticide statute, but left open the possibility other criminal charges could apply.

The Indiana Court of Appeals on Friday vacated the feticide conviction of Purvi Patel, an Indiana woman who faced 20 years in prison for what state attorneys argued was a self-induced abortion. The good news is the court decided Patel and others in the state could not be charged and convicted for feticide after experiencing failed pregnancies. The bad news is that the court still deferred to junk science at trial that claimed Patel’s fetus was on the cusp of viability and had taken a breath outside the womb, and largely upheld Patel’s conviction of felony neglect of a dependent. This leaves the door open for similar prosecutions in the state in the future.

As Rewire previously reported, “In July 2013 … Purvi Patel sought treatment at a hospital emergency room for heavy vaginal bleeding, telling doctors she’d had a miscarriage. That set off a chain of events, which eventually led to a jury convicting Patel of one count of feticide and one count of felony neglect of a dependent in February 2015.”

To charge Patel with feticide under Indiana’s law, the state at trial was required to prove she “knowingly or intentionally” terminated her pregnancy “with an intention other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead fetus.”

According to the Indiana Court of Appeals, attorneys for the State of Indiana failed to show the legislature had originally passed the feticide statute with the intention of criminally charging patients like Patel for terminating their own pregnancies. Patel’s case, the court said, marked an “abrupt departure” from the normal course of prosecutions under the statute.

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“This is the first case that we are aware of in which the State has used the feticide statute to prosecute a pregnant woman (or anyone else) for performing an illegal abortion, as that term is commonly understood,” the decision reads. “[T]he wording of the statute as a whole indicate[s] that the legislature intended for any criminal liability to be imposed on medical personnel, not on women who perform their own abortions,” the court continued.

“[W]e conclude that the legislature never intended the feticide statute to apply to pregnant women in the first place,” it said.

This is an important holding, because Patel was not actually the first woman Indiana prosecutors tried to jail for a failed pregnancy outcome. In 2011, state prosecutors brought an attempted feticide charge against Bei Bei Shuai, a pregnant Chinese woman suffering from depression who tried to commit suicide. She survived, but the fetus did not.

Shuai was held in prison for a year until a plea agreement was reached in her case.

The Indiana Court of Appeals did not throw out Patel’s conviction entirely, though. Instead, it vacated Patel’s second charge of Class A felony conviction of neglect of a dependent, ruling Patel should have been charged and convicted of a lower Class D felony. The court remanded the case back to the trial court with instructions to enter judgment against Patel for conviction of a Class D felony neglect of a dependent, and to re-sentence Patel accordingly to that drop in classification.

A Class D felony conviction in Indiana carries with it a sentence of six months to three years.

To support Patel’s second charge of felony neglect at trial, prosecutors needed to show that Patel took abortifacients; that she delivered a viable fetus; that said viable fetus was, in fact, born alive; and that Patel abandoned the fetus. According to the Indiana Court of Appeals, the state got close, but not all the way, to meeting this burden.

According to the Indiana Court of Appeals, the state had presented enough evidence to establish “that the baby took at least one breath and that its heart was beating after delivery and continued to beat until all of its blood had drained out of its body.”

Therefore, the Court of Appeals concluded, it was reasonable for the jury to infer that Patel knowingly neglected the fetus after delivery by failing to provide medical care after its birth. The remaining question, according to the court, was what degree of a felony Patel should have been charged with and convicted of.

That is where the State of Indiana fell short on its neglect of a dependent conviction, the court said. Attorneys had failed to sufficiently show that any medical care Patel could have provided would have resulted in the fetus surviving after birth. Without that evidence, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded, state attorneys could not support a Class A conviction. The evidence they presented, though, could support a Class D felony conviction, the court said.

In other words, the Indiana Court of Appeals told prosecutors in the state, make sure your medical experts offer more specific testimony next time you bring a charge like the one at issue in Patel’s case.

The decision is a mixed win for reproductive rights and justice advocates. The ruling from the court that the feticide statute cannot be used to prosecute patients for terminating their own pregnancy is an important victory, especially in a state that has sought not just to curb access to abortion, but to eradicate family planning and reproductive health services almost entirely. Friday’s decision made it clear to prosecutors that they cannot rely on the state’s feticide statute to punish patients who turn to desperate measures to end their pregnancies. This is a critical pushback against the full-scale erosion of reproductive rights and autonomy in the state.

But the fact remains that at both trial and appeal, the court and jury largely accepted the conclusions of the state’s medical experts that Patel delivered a live baby that, at least for a moment, was capable of survival outside the womb. And that is troubling. The state’s experts offered these conclusions, despite existing contradictions on key points of evidence such as the gestational age of the fetus—and thus if it was viable—and whether or not the fetus displayed evidence of life when it was born.

Patel’s attorneys tried, unsuccessfully, to rebut those conclusions. For example, the state’s medical expert used the “lung float test,” also known as the hydrostatic test, to conclude Patel’s fetus had taken a breath outside the womb. The test, developed in the 17th century, posits that if a fetus’ lungs are removed and placed in a container of liquid and the lungs float, it means the fetus drew at least one breath of air before dying. If the lungs sink, the theory holds, the fetus did not take a breath.

Not surprisingly, medical forensics has advanced since the 17th century, and medical researchers widely question the hydrostatic test’s reliability. Yet this is the only medical evidence the state presented of live birth.

Ultimately, the fact that the jury decided to accept the conclusions of the state’s experts over Patel’s is itself not shocking. Weighing the evidence and coming to a conclusion of guilt or innocence based on that evidence is what juries do. But it does suggest that when women of color are dragged before a court for a failed pregnancy, they will rarely, if ever, get the benefit of the doubt.

The jurors could have just as easily believed the evidence put forward by Patel’s attorneys that gestational age, and thus viability, was in doubt, but they didn’t. The jurors could have just as easily concluded the state’s medical testimony that the fetus took “at least one breath” was not sufficient to support convicting Patel of a felony and sending her to prison for 20 years. But they didn’t.

Why was the State of Indiana so intent on criminally prosecuting Patel, despite the many glaring weaknesses in the case against her? Why were the jurors so willing to take the State of Indiana’s word over Patel’s when presented with those weaknesses? And why did it take them less than five hours to convict her?

Patel was ordered in March to serve 20 years in prison for her conviction. Friday’s decision upends that; Patel now faces a sentence of six months to three years. She’s been in jail serving her 20 year sentence since February 2015 while her appeal moved forward. If there’s real justice in this case, Patel will be released immediately.

Analysis Politics

The 2016 Republican Platform Is Riddled With Conservative Abortion Myths

Ally Boguhn

Anti-choice activists and leaders have embraced the Republican platform, which relies on a series of falsehoods about reproductive health care.

Republicans voted to ratify their 2016 platform this week, codifying what many deem one of the most extreme platforms ever accepted by the party.

“Platforms are traditionally written by and for the party faithful and largely ignored by everyone else,” wrote the New York Times‘ editorial board Monday. “But this year, the Republicans are putting out an agenda that demands notice.”

“It is as though, rather than trying to reconcile Mr. Trump’s heretical views with conservative orthodoxy, the writers of the platform simply opted to go with the most extreme version of every position,” it continued. “Tailored to Mr. Trump’s impulsive bluster, this document lays bare just how much the G.O.P. is driven by a regressive, extremist inner core.”

Tucked away in the 66-page document accepted by Republicans as their official guide to “the Party’s principles and policies” are countless resolutions that seem to back up the Times‘ assertion that the platform is “the most extreme” ever put forth by the party, including: rolling back marriage equalitydeclaring pornography a “public health crisis”; and codifying the Hyde Amendment to permanently block federal funding for abortion.

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Anti-choice activists and leaders have embraced the platform, which the Susan B. Anthony List deemed the “Most Pro-life Platform Ever” in a press release upon the GOP’s Monday vote at the convention. “The Republican platform has always been strong when it comes to protecting unborn children, their mothers, and the conscience rights of pro-life Americans,” said the organization’s president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, in a statement. “The platform ratified today takes that stand from good to great.”  

Operation Rescue, an organization known for its radical tactics and links to violence, similarly declared the platform a “victory,” noting its inclusion of so-called personhood language, which could ban abortion and many forms of contraception. “We are celebrating today on the streets of Cleveland. We got everything we have asked for in the party platform,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, in a statement posted to the group’s website.

But what stands out most in the Republicans’ document is the series of falsehoods and myths relied upon to push their conservative agenda. Here are just a few of the most egregious pieces of misinformation about abortion to be found within the pages of the 2016 platform:

Myth #1: Planned Parenthood Profits From Fetal Tissue Donations

Featured in multiple sections of the Republican platform is the tired and repeatedly debunked claim that Planned Parenthood profits from fetal tissue donations. In the subsection on “protecting human life,” the platform says:

We oppose the use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood, so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide healthcare. We urge all states and Congress to make it a crime to acquire, transfer, or sell fetal tissues from elective abortions for research, and we call on Congress to enact a ban on any sale of fetal body parts. In the meantime, we call on Congress to ban the practice of misleading women on so-called fetal harvesting consent forms, a fact revealed by a 2015 investigation. We will not fund or subsidize healthcare that includes abortion coverage.

Later in the document, under a section titled “Preserving Medicare and Medicaid,” the platform again asserts that abortion providers are selling “the body parts of aborted children”—presumably again referring to the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood:

We respect the states’ authority and flexibility to exclude abortion providers from federal programs such as Medicaid and other healthcare and family planning programs so long as they continue to perform or refer for elective abortions or sell the body parts of aborted children.

The platform appears to reference the widely discredited videos produced by anti-choice organization Center for Medical Progress (CMP) as part of its smear campaign against Planned Parenthood. The videos were deceptively edited, as Rewire has extensively reported. CMP’s leader David Daleiden is currently under federal indictment for tampering with government documents in connection with obtaining the footage. Republicans have nonetheless steadfastly clung to the group’s claims in an effort to block access to reproductive health care.

Since CMP began releasing its videos last year, 13 state and three congressional inquiries into allegations based on the videos have turned up no evidence of wrongdoing on behalf of Planned Parenthood.

Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund—which has endorsed Hillary Clinton—called the Republicans’ inclusion of CMP’s allegation in their platform “despicable” in a statement to the Huffington Post. “This isn’t just an attack on Planned Parenthood health centers,” said Laguens. “It’s an attack on the millions of patients who rely on Planned Parenthood each year for basic health care. It’s an attack on the brave doctors and nurses who have been facing down violent rhetoric and threats just to provide people with cancer screenings, birth control, and well-woman exams.”

Myth #2: The Supreme Court Struck Down “Commonsense” Laws About “Basic Health and Safety” in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt

In the section focusing on the party’s opposition to abortion, the GOP’s platform also reaffirms their commitment to targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws. According to the platform:

We salute the many states that now protect women and girls through laws requiring informed consent, parental consent, waiting periods, and clinic regulation. We condemn the Supreme Court’s activist decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt striking down commonsense Texas laws providing for basic health and safety standards in abortion clinics.

The idea that TRAP laws, such as those struck down by the recent Supreme Court decision in Whole Woman’s Health, are solely for protecting women and keeping them safe is just as common among conservatives as it is false. However, as Rewire explained when Paul Ryan agreed with a nearly identical claim last week about Texas’ clinic regulations, “the provisions of the law in question were not about keeping anybody safe”:

As Justice Stephen Breyer noted in the opinion declaring them unconstitutional, “When directly asked at oral argument whether Texas knew of a single instance in which the new requirement would have helped even one woman obtain better treatment, Texas admitted that there was no evidence in the record of such a case.”

All the provisions actually did, according to Breyer on behalf of the Court majority, was put “a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion,” and “constitute an undue burden on abortion access.”

Myth #3: 20-Week Abortion Bans Are Justified By “Current Medical Research” Suggesting That Is When a Fetus Can Feel Pain

The platform went on to point to Republicans’ Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a piece of anti-choice legislation already passed in several states that, if approved in Congress, would create a federal ban on abortion after 20 weeks based on junk science claiming fetuses can feel pain at that point in pregnancy:

Over a dozen states have passed Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Acts prohibiting abortion after twenty weeks, the point at which current medical research shows that unborn babies can feel excruciating pain during abortions, and we call on Congress to enact the federal version.

Major medical groups and experts, however, agree that a fetus has not developed to the point where it can feel pain until the third trimester. According to a 2013 letter from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “A rigorous 2005 scientific review of evidence published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) concluded that fetal perception of pain is unlikely before the third trimester,” which begins around the 28th week of pregnancy. A 2010 review of the scientific evidence on the issue conducted by the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists similarly found “that the fetus cannot experience pain in any sense prior” to 24 weeks’ gestation.

Doctors who testify otherwise often have a history of anti-choice activism. For example, a letter read aloud during a debate over West Virginia’s ultimately failed 20-week abortion ban was drafted by Dr. Byron Calhoun, who was caught lying about the number of abortion-related complications he saw in Charleston.

Myth #4: Abortion “Endangers the Health and Well-being of Women”

In an apparent effort to criticize the Affordable Care Act for promoting “the notion of abortion as healthcare,” the platform baselessly claimed that abortion “endangers the health and well-being” of those who receive care:

Through Obamacare, the current Administration has promoted the notion of abortion as healthcare. We, however, affirm the dignity of women by protecting the sanctity of human life. Numerous studies have shown that abortion endangers the health and well-being of women, and we stand firmly against it.

Scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that abortion is safe. Research shows that a first-trimester abortion carries less than 0.05 percent risk of major complications, according to the Guttmacher Institute, and “pose[s] virtually no long-term risk of problems such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) or birth defect, and little or no risk of preterm or low-birth-weight deliveries.”

There is similarly no evidence to back up the GOP’s claim that abortion endangers the well-being of women. A 2008 study from the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion, an expansive analysis on current research regarding the issue, found that while those who have an abortion may experience a variety of feelings, “no evidence sufficient to support the claim that an observed association between abortion history and mental health was caused by the abortion per se, as opposed to other factors.”

As is the case for many of the anti-abortion myths perpetuated within the platform, many of the so-called experts who claim there is a link between abortion and mental illness are discredited anti-choice activists.

Myth #5: Mifepristone, a Drug Used for Medical Abortions, Is “Dangerous”

Both anti-choice activists and conservative Republicans have been vocal opponents of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA’s) March update to the regulations for mifepristone, a drug also known as Mifeprex and RU-486 that is used in medication abortions. However, in this year’s platform, the GOP goes a step further to claim that both the drug and its general approval by the FDA are “dangerous”:

We believe the FDA’s approval of Mifeprex, a dangerous abortifacient formerly known as RU-486, threatens women’s health, as does the agency’s endorsement of over-the-counter sales of powerful contraceptives without a physician’s recommendation. We support cutting federal and state funding for entities that endanger women’s health by performing abortions in a manner inconsistent with federal or state law.

Studies, however, have overwhelmingly found mifepristone to be safe. In fact, the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals says mifepristone “is safer than acetaminophen,” aspirin, and Viagra. When the FDA conducted a 2011 post-market study of those who have used the drug since it was approved by the agency, they found that more than 1.5 million women in the U.S. had used it to end a pregnancy, only 2,200 of whom had experienced an “adverse event” after.

The platform also appears to reference the FDA’s approval of making emergency contraception such as Plan B available over the counter, claiming that it too is a threat to women’s health. However, studies show that emergency contraception is safe and effective at preventing pregnancy. According to the World Health Organization, side effects are “uncommon and generally mild.”