John Fuller: Today, we’re going to address a very serious topic, one that isn’t appropriate for younger listeners. There’s a type of abortion that’s advertised as safe and easy. It’s simply taking a pill. But the tragic reality is far from easy.
Woman: I took the RU-486 pill. I passed my baby. I saw it. It was horrible. I remember what it was like. I was crying.”
End of Recording
John: This is Focus on the Family with Focus president and author Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller
Jim Daly: John, that woman’s comment is heartbreaking. Abortion is never easy because a life has been terminated. That’s a simple fact. That’s the truth. And there are consequences like the pain and anguish she was describing there. Far too many women, men and families have gone through that, and often suffering for decades afterwards.
And I wanna say upfront, if you’ve experienced an abortion, there is hope for you. It is not hopeless. God doesn’t condemn you. He still loves and cherishes you. And even if you can’t believe what I’m saying right now, forgiveness and healing are available to you, and I hope you’ll contact us here at Focus on the Family for that kind of hope and help at the conclusion of our program. But our goal today is prevention and stopping a medical abortion, uh, before it begins or, in some cases, if possible, rescuing a baby and mother who have already started the process. We have two guests who are going to help us better understand what the abortion pill reversal is and how it works.
John: And our guests are Rebekah Buell Hagan. She is a pro-life advocate and speaker, a mom of three, and she has quite a story to share. And also with us, Dr. Bill Lile. He’s a busy OB-GYN who is a staunch advocate for pro-life values. You can check his website. We’ll link over to it – prolifedoc.org. He routinely speaks on these topics as well.
Jim: Rebekah and Bill, welcome to Focus on the Family.
Dr. Bill Lile: Thank you very much.
Mrs. Rebekah Buell Hagan: Thank you.
Jim: Good to be here. Now, you’re actually a mom of four. You have, uh, one that is coming along.
Rebekah: On the way. (laughter) Yes, I do.
Jim: So, congratulations on that, Rebekah.
John: Yeah, that’s great.
Rebekah: Thank you.
Jim: That is good news. Let’s start with you, uh, and your story. You grew up in a Christian family but ended up, uh, pregnant at the age of 17. Describe what that situation, what that circumstance was like. You’re in a Christian home at that point.
Rebekah: I was. And, you know, despite being Christians and despite my parents being on the worship team, we never talked about relationships or abortion. And so, it was quite shocking to find out, A, that I’m pregnant and then thinking, B, what do I do next?
Jim: Was there a reason for that in your home?
Rebekah: There actually was, and I didn’t realize that it was rooted in such deep shame that my mom had actually been forced to have three abortions…
Rebekah: …As a teenager.
Jim: So, that, for her – I mean, I can only imagine. She just didn’t wanna go there, maybe emotionally couldn’t go there. But that left you with only questions, right?
Jim: Yeah. And that’s tough. Uh, you chose to give life to your child, and you married your boyfriend, but he was abusive and abandoned this little family that you started at 18, correct?
Jim: And I think you discovered you were pregnant once again after you had broken up with your husband. Is that right?
Rebekah: You’re absolutely right. This all happened in, really, less than a year. So, I delivered that baby, turned 18, got married. The relationship, uh, turned very abusive and dissolved. And right at that time, found out I was pregnant again.
Jim: Can I ask you, Rebekah, because, you know, we’re going through the kind of the clinical aspects of this, but what were you feeling and thinking? I’m sure there may be a 17-, 18-, 19-year-old that’s listening now, and she’s in that spot. Connect with her. What were your emotions like at the time?
Rebekah: I was terrified. I knew now how hard it was to have a child and to be a single mom. I was scared of letting my family down. And I thought, really, in a moment of panic and fear, that abortion was my only way out of this. It was the only option.
Jim: Could you – did you talk with your mom at this point now? Or could you not do that?
Rebekah: No, at this point, I definitely couldn’t talk to any member of my family. I had no wise counsel I felt comfortable speaking with. And so, unfortunately, uh, during this time, I was isolated and, obviously, being blinded by sin, uh, and wasn’t confiding in anyone.
Jim: So, you had no real support in that way. So, you find out you’re pregnant with your second child, and you’re agonizing over that decision. What happened?
Rebekah: So, basically, from the moment I found out I was pregnant – which I took that pregnancy test at a grocery store bathroom, alone – before even walking out of that grocery store, knew I had to have an abortion. And so, like so many young girls do, I turned to the Internet on my phone and typed in abortion clinics near me. Also learned about medication abortion and found out how it was marketed as easy and convenient and cheaper and easier to hide, less painful, overall less invasive, and so, immediately sought out a medication abortion.
Jim: Man. Uh, Bill, you’re the doctor. What is that medication abortion?
Bill: The medication itself is called mifepristone, also known as RU-486, and it is a very effective blocker of a hormone called progesterone. Progesterone, if you break that word down, progesterone – pro gestation. This is the conductor of the orchestra of pregnancy that organizes everything and says, “Our new full-time job is supporting this pregnancy.” RU-486 blocks that signal, separates the pregnancy from the mother, and then allows for the cervix to open up and the uterus to contract, and the baby is passed away and is delivered.
Jim: Yeah. I mean, and, unfortunately, usually in your home in the bathroom.
Jim: In a toilet. I mean, that’s the truth. Rebekah, um, you say that abortion clinic workers are trained to listen to your words but not your feelings. I get it but describe that.
Rebekah: Sure. So when you walk into an abortion clinic, like I did, and say, “I want an abortion,” that’s all they’re offering. And so, I take full responsibility for my part in making that decision. However, I will also say I was not counseled. I was not warned of the emotional, uh, physical, spiritual aftermath that this type of decision could possibly have, uh, later in life. And they’re not asking you, “Who are you? How did you get yourself in this position?” to make sure that you really are making what they would call an informed, confident decision, because I wasn’t informed or confident. I was there out of a lack of options.
Jim: Not knowing what to do.
Jim: Rebekah, I’ve got to ask that question. You know, we tend to ask this question in a very awkward way. Where was God in your story? I mean, God’s always there. Where were you in your relationship with God at this point? Was He speaking to your heart? Was anybody kind of aware and reaching out to you?
Rebekah: No one was aware, so no one could reach out to me, unfortunately…
Rebekah: And that’s one of the problems when we’re living in sin is, we do keep ourselves so isolated. However, I knew God. I previously had a relationship with Jesus. Uh, but I certainly wasn’t looking for Him in this situation. In fact, I think I was avoiding Him. Uh, so as I look back now, a few years after, I can see where He was. There were several things that came up that prevented me from going through with the abortion initially – several appointments that got canceled – and I now see it as God. But back then, I thought it was frustrating, and I grew even more frantic. And the abortion clinic was constantly reminding me at that time, you know, you only have nine weeks to go through with this decision. We really have to get this process going.
Jim: So, the pressure was on…
Jim: …From them. And I want to hold, you know, the end of this story, um, and we’re going to hear that in just a moment. Bill, this is powerful. You and I had dinner and you were sharing with me a lot of information, and I so appreciate that. One of the things you shared with me was this observation of an abortion-minded woman and comparing that to people who have jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. Uh, retell that for me, because people are going, “How does that connect?”
Bill: The Golden Gate Bridge is a focal point for people who want to commit suicide, for whatever reason. Since the Golden Gate Bridge was constructed, over 1,800 people have jumped to commit suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge. It is 220 feet to the bottom, and the vast majority will die. They have just spent $210 million on a system to try to prevent people from jumping. But the people will walk out onto that bridge, and their mindset is, “Nobody loves me. Nobody cares for me. This world will be better without my life,” and they jump off that bridge. Well, some people survive. And a psychologist actually tracked down 29 people who had jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge and had miraculously survived. She wanted to know what was going on in their minds before they jumped and what do they think now. Twenty-nine of those 29 people, as soon as they jumped off the bridge and they saw the bridge up above them, had immediate regrets, and they cried out to God, “I don’t wanna die.” Every problem that they had in their life, they realized they could fix except for this one problem – where they are now, falling off the Golden Gate Bridge.
Bill: So, do people have regrets? Yes. And I think that when people take the abortion pill and they contact our hotline, a lot of times, those regrets are immediate where they walked into the clinic – “Nobody loves me. Nobody cares for me. The world will be better off without my baby” – the exact same thoughts as somebody would have before they committed suicide. And then right after they take that pill, they start to have regrets and they look for options. We have a website, which is abortionpillreversal.com, and we also have a toll-free number, 877-558-0333, where we have a registered nurse that is online 24/7 who will take the information and then put you in contact with a physician that is geographically close to you, can go over the information, counsel you, and then can prescribe the appropriate medication to reverse the effect of the abortion pill so we have a healthy mom and a healthy baby.
Jim: And that hotline number, again, is?
Jim: And we’ll post that number and the website information at our website so people can find it easily. Uh, Rebekah, I want to return to your story. Uh, you were determined to get the abortion. You’re in this dark place. Thank you for sharing that and the vulnerability of that. It’s very, uh, admirable of you ’cause there’s going to be many women listening that may be in exactly the spot you were in. So, I appreciate it.
Jim: Um, you took the first pill, and what happened?
Rebekah: I did. So, I took that first abortion pill, and I remember there – sitting there in a Planned Parenthood clinic, and I had started to kind of tear up, and the nurse practitioner that had given me the first abortion pill said, “You know, Rebekah, just because you’re sad doesn’t mean you’re making the wrong decision.” And right before I took it, she said, “But once you do this, there’s no going back.” And I just said, “Okay.” And so, I took that first pill, and I walked out of the clinic with the second set of medication. And I was told to take it, once comfortable, 24 hours later the following day. And by the time I got to my car, which maybe only took, you know, 90 seconds or so, it was like everything hit me. And the best way I can describe a person that is making the decision to have an abortion and what goes through her mind is similar to how Dr. Lile described how people who are about to jump off a bridge and commit suicide think. And it’s – you’re walking down this path, and it seems well lit. It seems illuminated. And all of a sudden, you make this turn, and you make that choice, and it’s like all of that light goes out, and you realize that it was actually Satan. And he says, “Gotcha.” And now you know pain, and now you know grief, and now you know what it’s like to really regret having just had an abortion and taking the life of your child.
Jim: Wow. You have said so much there so well. The emptiness of that…
Jim: …I mean, feeling like, “What have I done?”
Rebekah: Right. And people – abortion providers especially – make it seem like no woman ever goes into this underinformed, very few women ever regret their decision or change their mind, and it’s just simply not the truth.
Jim: Right, it’s propaganda…
Jim: …To make the machine work for them. How did God reach your heart? I mean, you beautifully described the sense that you were going down the road to darkness, taking the life of your child. How did God grab you?
Rebekah: While still sitting in my car outside of this abortion clinic…
Rebekah: …I knew I couldn’t go back in there, and I just prayed to God. And I said, “God, if there’s a way out of this, please help me find it. And if not, please help me to forgive myself.” And it dawned on me – and I really think it was no coincidence that it was in this moment that I began to really think about this – but the day I took the first abortion pill was March 13 of 2013. And the following day – the day I was set to complete the abortion, where the pregnancy was supposed to expel – was March 14, and that was my son Eli’s first birthday. And I quickly realized, oh, my gosh, March 14 will forever be a day that I literally brought one baby into this world and took another one out. And it was that thought that made me think, “You have to do something different. You have to go back. You have to find a way out of this.”
Jim: And what did you do to find your way out, practically?
Rebekah: After praying, which I highly recommend before turning to Google – right? – I did turn to the Internet, and I started typing in things like, “I took the first abortion pill, and I changed my mind.” And after a while and seeing women just like me post similar questions, I found the website that Dr. Lile mentioned – abortionpillreversal.com – and I called that hotline number.
Jim: Oh. That’s fantastic.
Rebekah: It was. And when I called, I spoke to a nurse of a pregnancy center in San Diego, which was about eight hours away from me in Sacramento. And she was calm and, uh, responsive and asked me questions that the abortion provider never did, like, “How did you get here? And why did you think this was your only option? What is your home life like, your spiritual life like? And then why have you now changed your mind?” And then she started talking to me about abortion pill reversal.
Jim: Powerful. I’m tearing up here. I’m sorry. I’m just going, “Wow. This is good.”
Rebekah: It was amazing. It was one of those moments where you look back and you know she was led by the Holy Spirit. It was a – an ordained conversation. And what I didn’t even realize was that, throughout this whole process, I wasn’t even told what the abortion pill actually did to my body. I wasn’t actually told that, 24 hours later, I was going home to take a medication that women are given when they’re in active labor. I was so frustrated that I was so misled and underinformed that now she became the person I could trust.
Jim: This is your go-to person…
Jim: …Which is beautiful. That’s how it should work, right?
Jim: Bill, what is that reversal medically? What’s going on there – to better inform women and their husbands?
Bill: Sure. Well, the RU-486 blocks the hormone progesterone. We actually reverse that by supplementing with more progesterone – progesterone that we can use is bio-identical to the progesterone made by the woman’s body. It is made from yams, and it is made from soybeans. It’s about as natural as can be and is identical. We raise the level of progesterone and overwhelm the body. So, the woman’s body will, at first, say, “Hey, we’re pregnant.” Then they’re given the RU-486, and then there’s the – the signal is lost, and the body says, “Well, I guess we’re not pregnant.” Well, then we give more progesterone, and the body responds, says, “No, it’s okay. We are pregnant.” And so, all the support for the pregnancy is then reestablished.
Jim: And to Rebekah’s point, what is that window of time?
Bill: Sooner is better. We have been very effective within the first 72 hours. In fact, our success rate of reversing an abortion pill is about 70% if we can initiate reversal therapy within the first 72 hours. And this is a – can be a pregnancy up to 10 weeks, which is very different from the morning-after pill, which is 72 hours. This is 70 days from the first day of the last menstrual period.
Jim: Yeah. That is so good. John, uh, let people know how they can get a hold of us at the website.
John: Yeah, yeah. As you’re listening, you’re thinking, “I really want that website,” uh, stop by ours, and we’ll link over to all the details. And, uh, it’s focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.
Jim: Rebekah, folks are thinking, “Okay, where is she at today? What happened?” Uh, describe your family.
Rebekah: Sure. So, thankfully, I did take the advice of that nurse. We found a physician, stayed on the progesterone reversal regimen that Dr. Lile just talked about and maintained a healthy pregnancy, a full 40 weeks, and delivered another little boy. And his name is Zachariah, which means the Lord remembers because clearly, as I look back on this story, um, and our experience, I see God’s hand over it all.
Rebekah: And Zachariah will be 7 this year, in 2020. And he, despite what the abortion clinic told me, that he would have severe abnormalities or that I would probably miscarry, he’s perfectly healthy. He’s starting football this year.
Jim: Oh, man!
Rebekah: I married a football coach…
Rebekah: …And so, my husband’s so excited to, uh, throw him in there on the field. And we had a little girl last June and are expecting another little boy this year.
Jim: Fantastic. And now you have no regrets.
Rebekah: Absolutely not. I am so thankful for abortion pill reversal and for the physicians and the nurses that went before me and made it possible for our story to have ended this way.
Bill: I want to pick up on one thing Rebekah said. When patients who have taken the RU-486 contact their abortion clinic, they’re too often told that there’s nothing that can be done, and if something is attempted, the baby will have lots of birth defects. There is no evidence of that. That is a lie.
Jim: So, really a fear tactic.
Bill: It is a fear tactic. Even the FDA and ACOG have announced – because it doesn’t work all the time – 2% of the time, their policy does not work on taking the life of the baby. There is no evidence that this causes birth defects or cause a teratogenic effect. So, the reversal medication is safe in pregnancy. Even though the abortion pill will take the life of the baby, when we reverse it, there’s no evidence that it causes birth defects in the baby – again, healthy moms, healthy babies.
Jim: Bill, um, your passion in this space is wonderful, but let’s take a moment and deconstruct the arguments of the other side.
Jim: When they talk about, um, it being safe and it being simple and no regrets, everything that Rebecca just shared – what do you see in your practice from women perhaps who have had an abortion in their background? What is the truth of what women experience?
Bill: The truth is – my wife and I’ve had four miscarriages. We’ve seen the heartbeat, and then we’ve had a miscarriage. And we’ve had that happened four times. And so, we understand what it’s like to go through that process. This is a medical induction of a miscarriage where the support for the pregnancy is taken away and then contractions are forced onto the woman’s body.
Bill: When I’m inducing somebody at term – she’s 40 weeks, has an eight-pound baby inside – the medicine that I use – the misoprostol – I use 25 micrograms. When somebody is going through the abortion pill process, it’s not 25 micrograms. It’s between 400 and 800 micrograms of the same medication to cause the contractions.
Bill: So, the pain from the contractions is intense, the bleeding is there, the clotting – and usually, just like you had said, they are home; they are alone; they might be in their dorm; they might be in their bathroom. It’s a miserable experience, which is why a lot of this medication is given out at the end of the week. The clinics are closed on the weekend. There’s nobody to call.
Bill: And by the time Monday rolls around, everything has already been done.
Jim: Yeah. Can there be further complications in that moment? I’m thinking of a couple of women’s testimonies that I’ve heard, where you can have things go wrong in that private moment after you’ve taken the additional medication.
Bill: Sure. Yeah. There can be excessive bleeding, hemorrhaging, complications in addition to the pain that is there. And when they are experiencing that, there’s nobody to turn to. There was a psychological article that was part of the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology – this was January of this year – and they looked at women who had had either a first-trimester miscarriage or a first-trimester ectopic pregnancy. One month after that experience, 28% of them had classic defined PTSD from that experience. Nine months later, 18% of those women still had classic PTSD symptoms from that miscarriage. These were events where they did not choose to have this, but they still had the psychological impact of the loss of that pregnancy. With this – this is a women’s health issue, physically, yes, but also mentally, yes, because if somebody is having these sort of symptoms nine months later, then – with a miscarriage or with an ectopic pregnancy, surely, when they have made the decision to cause this loss of life, they’re going to be having similar symptoms.
Jim: I mean, that is so profound. And, uh, you know, the goal here is to value life. In this culture, unfortunately, and globally, because of the work of Planned Parenthood and other abortion industry, uh, clinics – I mean, they – they are convincing women that this is the way to go. And it’s so unfortunate because what you see on the other side is a lot of misery. And of course, then they attack us like Focus on the Family…
Jim: …And say that, “If you didn’t put that stigma on these women, then there wouldn’t be a problem.” It’s kind of like saying, “If you wouldn’t allow the Holy Spirit to convict, everything would be fine.” Well, sin is not fine, and forgiveness is the goal…
Jim: And, you know, we need to recognize that and be bold enough to talk about that. God doesn’t condemn. Women are in terrible positions, often being influenced by their husband or boyfriend to get the abortion. That’s a common pattern. And so, we’re all guilty…
Jim: …As a culture that we’re not doing enough to wake the culture up and say, “This is about protecting babies…”
Jim: “These are human beings.” And man, God bless you for your efforts, as I’ve said before. Rebekah, God bless you for that decision you’ve made. Can I give you that opportunity to speak to that woman who’s contemplating abortion right now? What would you say to her?
Rebekah: What I often tell women and girls that are contemplating abortion is I know exactly how it feels to be in your position. I know what it feels like to think and truly believe that there is nowhere to turn, that you have no one. Um, and I know now – especially now that I work in the pregnancy center ministry – that I was so wrong and that there are so many people out there who love and care about you in this situation, who love and care about your baby. Um, I also have seen, even with my own mom, the great pain and grief and regret that comes with a decision like that. And I know that you aren’t being told that as a patient that’s considering abortion. And so, really, uh, there are so many resources for you. And even I’m willing to walk alongside you. Physicians like Dr. Lile right here are willing to walk alongside you. And you do have other options other than abortion.
Jim: And hopefully, our contribution can be to get the word out…
Jim: …And to make more people aware of those resources…
Jim: …That are available to them. Thank you both for being with us today.
Bill: It’s been a pleasure.
Jim: Yeah. Thank you.
John: And we trust that you’ve heard the heart and desire we have to help you if you are facing a crisis with your pregnancy or you know someone in that situation. Uh, we’re available here at Focus on the Family and we have all of the information and resources that we’ve mentioned on the broadcast today. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. And, of course, your call is confidential. And, uh, it’d be a privilege to offer whatever help we can. You can also find resources and help at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.
Jim: John, we need to remind our listeners about the huge online event coming September 26th. We call it See Life 2020. It’s just three weeks away.
Jim: Again, September 26th. And you can join us, the whole world can join us. And that begins when you sign our pledge #loveeveryheartbeat. And then help us spread the word to your family, friends, church and neighbors. Can we count on you to stand up and speak up for babies in the womb? And will you commit with us to care for the women and men facing unexpected pregnancies life we’ve been hearing about today?
John: We’d love to have you join us. And all the details are on our website. And right now, there’s a $1.2 million matching gift opportunity which means your donation today will be doubled. And, uh, help Focus on the Family rescue more babies from abortion and increase awareness about the sanctity of every life.
Jim: Now is the time to engage with this issue of life. To let your voice and values be heard. God has ordained for you, and me, to be here in this moment. To help protect and rescue precious human lives. Please, give generously and stand with us. Sign the pledge and join us on Saturday, September 26th, for See Life 2020.
John: We’re looking forward to your support and participation. And, again, you can donate and sign that pledge at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Or call 800-A-FAMILY for all the details. And on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ.