VICE News

Meet the Doctor Who Convinces Women He Can 'Reverse' Abortions

George Delgado claims to have “successfully reversed” 350 medical abortions nationwide.

by Rebecca Grant
Aug 7 2017, 2:15pm

George Delgado made his first attempt at reversing an abortion in 2009. He got a call from Terri Palmquist, a missionary at the evangelical group LifeSavers Ministries who ran in the same California anti-abortion circles he did. Palmquist said she'd gotten a call from a young woman in El Paso, Texas, who had taken the abortion pill, a common method for ending a pregnancy, but changed her mind. The woman wanted to know if there was any way to reverse the effects of the pill. Palmquist turned to Delgado, a family practice doctor in San Diego, seeking advice.

Delgado had never heard of anyone "reversing" a medical abortion before, but he had an idea for how to try. A medical abortion comes in the form of two pills: Mifepristone, the first, works by blocking the hormone progesterone and preventing a pregnancy from continuing. Misoprostol, the second pill, is taken 24 to 48 hours later to cause contractions that empty the uterus.

Delgado fixed on progesterone, which is critical for sustaining pregnancy. Progesterone is cheap and widely covered by insurance. It's often used to boost fertility and given to women at risk for miscarriage. Delgado thought that a woman who had taken mifepristone could increase the chance of continuing the pregnancy by first skipping the misoprostol and then taking a lot of progesterone—multiple times a week throughout her first trimester to overpower the mifepristone. The idea was less of a reversal, really, than a halt.

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