A U.K. doctor and former president of the Catholic Medical Association (UK) has been ordered by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service to cease providing abortion reversal treatment for up to 18 months while the General Medical Council investigates him.
Dr. Dermot Kearney is a cardiologist and emergency physician at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Northeast England’s Tyne and Wear.
On many occasions, Kearney has prescribed the natural hormone progesterone to pregnant women who have taken the first of two abortion pills but regret their decision. Progesterone inhibits the effects of Mifepristone—the first abortion pill—and according to Christian Concern, the success rate in stopping an abortion in this way can be as high as 68% if treatment is started within 72 hours.
Rebecca Bensted from the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting Kearney, explained that Kearney began informing women about the abortion reversal process during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In March 2020, the U.K. government began allowing abortion providers to send pills through the mail to women to self-manage their own abortion at home with no medical supervision. The move led to a spike in queries about abortion reversal, Bensted said.
“The reason [Kearney] wanted to offer the [reversal] service was because of the demand that was there,” she said.
Laura, one of Kearney’s patients, became pregnant in the summer of 2020. She felt unprepared to become a mother and planned to terminate her pregnancy.
She received the abortion pills through the mail and took the first of the two.
“As soon as I took the first pill, I instantly regretted it,” Laura said.
“I tried to make myself sick to bring it back up. I was vomiting blood through cutting my throat with my fingers as I was desperate to make myself sick, but I could not do it properly.
“I did not realize how much I would regret taking the pill until I had done it, and it was a horrifying moment I will never forget.”
Laura was desperate to save her baby, but didn’t know how. She turned to Google, where she found out that there was a way to reverse the effects of the pill she just took.
“No one had ever told me that an abortion could be reversed,” she said, “and the only organization I found was in America. I made contact, and within an hour, I was put in contact with Dr. Dermot Kearney.”
Kearney put Laura in touch with her local pharmacy, and soon she had a prescription for progesterone.
“Dr. Dermot Kearney provided me with a life-saving service for not only my baby but myself,” Laura said. “He also provided telephone care throughout. I was able to ask many questions about the prescription and seek any advice when needed. Dr. Kearney monitored my health throughout the weeks of treatment and even after. He really cared about my situation and made me feel like I had support if I needed.”
Laura gave birth to a healthy baby boy.
“I do not believe Dr. Kearney should be punished for providing me with a service I so desperately needed and will be eternally grateful for,” she said. “It is because of his help that I can look back on the moment I took that pill without having to live with pain and regret for the decision I took, as I now have my beautiful baby boy.”
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, called out the hypocrisy of Kearney’s situation:
“Here you have a doctor being prohibited from saving lives and providing women with first class professional support in a crisis. There is something very wrong going on when a medical doctor is prohibited from saving babies’ lives at a time when we are told we must do everything to save lives in response to coronavirus.”