Five doctors backing the US legal case against the abortion pill


By Tom Hals

WILMINGTON, Delaware (Reuters) – A legal case making its way through the courts could remove the abortion pill mifepristone from the market or restrict access to the drug.

The case is being led by medical groups and doctors who are opposed to abortion and hinges in part on the testimony of the doctors to establish the right to bring the case, a legal doctrine known as standing. Below is a closer look at some of them.

George Delgado – A California palliative care specialist, Delgado helped pioneer “abortion reversal” treatments for women who change their mind after taking mifepristone. His testimony about the stress of treating women who use mifepristone was cited by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals as an example of the harm caused by the approval of the abortion pill. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists has said abortion reversal is not supported by science and does not meet clinical standards. Delgado did not respond to a request for comment.

Ingrid Skop – A board-certified Texas obstetrician, she testified as a member of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA). Her testimony was cited as evidence doctors face violations of their conscience rights because they might have to complete elective abortions. She works at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, an anti-abortion group, and often testifies before lawmakers and in anti-abortion litigation. In a case in Florida, a judge described her testimony on abortion risks as “inaccurate and overstated, or based on data from decades ago.” Skop did not address the judge’s comments in an email to Reuters.

Donna Harrison – A board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist, she was the chief executive of Indiana-based AAPLOG and the president of Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine last year when she submitted her written testimony. In a 2013 ruling against North Dakota restrictions on mifepristone, the judge in the case described one expert in the case as “a very credible witness” and went on to say “the same cannot be said for Dr. Harrison.” The judge said Harrison’s opinions lacked scientific support and shifted over time. Harrison did not respond to a request for comment.

Tyler Johnson – An Indiana emergency department physician and a Republican state senator, Johnson is also a member of the plaintiff organization AAPLOG. His testimony was credited in initial rulings as evidence more mifepristone users are seeking emergency room care. Johnson did not respond to a request for comment.

Steven Foley – A board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist in Indiana, Foley testified as a member of CMDA and said by easing restrictions on the abortion pill, the FDA harmed his practice because he lacks information for treating women in the emergency room. Foley said in his abortion pill testimony he also treats women for abortion pill reversal. Foley did not respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

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