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Reversing Death: The Abortion Pill Rescue Network (Pro-Life NC Part 5)

According to the Guttmacher Institute, chemical abortions accounted for 53% of all facility-based abortions in the United States in 2020. This two-drug regimen has ended countless lives, but what happens if the mother changes her mind after taking the first pill?

This week on Family Policy Matters, host Traci DeVette Griggs welcomes Lisa Searle to discuss the Abortion Pill Rescue Network. This organization, which is a part of Heartbeat International, helps women save their babies if they change their mind after taking the first abortion pill.

This episode is a part of a series highlighting the pro-life movement in North Carolina. Tune in each week to learn more!

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Transcript: Reversing Death: The Abortion Pill Rescue Network

TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Thanks for joining us this week for Family Policy Matters. This summer marks one year since the US Supreme Court reversed its nearly 50 year old Roe v Wade decision that had legalized abortion on demand nationwide. So this month, we’re bringing you a series of interviews with North Carolinians who represent the many facets of the pro-life movement. Today we’re joined by Lisa Searle, who oversees the Abortion Pill Rescue Network, a program within Heartbeat International that serves women who regret beginning the process of chemical or medical abortions. We’re grateful to have her with us today to discuss this very important facet of the pro life movement. Lisa Searle, welcome to Family Policy Matters.

LISA SEARLE: Thank you, Traci. I’m glad to be here.

TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Alright, so why don’t you start off, before we get into the mechanics of the abortion pill reversal, tell us why you’re involved in the pro life movement. Why is it so important to you that you’re devoting much of your life to it?

LISA SEARLE: Because women and their families are important to me. As a young adult, I spent time working in the abortion industry, and during that time, I thought I was helping women. But I’ve learned that that’s not always the help they need. So here I am working hard to make a difference in their lives in a more positive way.

TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: What about Heartbeat International? How did you end up there? And specifically, how did you end up working with the Abortion Pill Rescue Network,

LISA SEARLE: I started in a pregnancy health organization, started working as their nurse manager, and was with them for about four years, realized my love for pregnancy health ministry and started working as a volunteer with Abortion Pill Rescue taking hotline calls as a nurse. And later on, doing that after about two years, they asked me to come on board as a nurse manager and oversee the abortion pill reversal hotline. So that’s how I got involved, started in pregnancy center ministry, but my background in women’s health and labor, delivery, postpartum, that kind of thing, kind of kind of paved the path for me.

TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: For those who might not know what Heartbeat International is give us just a quick little description.

LISA SEARLE: So Heartbeat International is an organization. We have a network of pregnancy help organizations, we have a network of affiliates, that come alongside us. And our mission is to reach and rescue as many lives as possible through an effective global network of life affirming pregnancy help. We want communities to be renewed for life. So through these organizations, we do a lot of education for pregnancy help organizations so they can take it back to their communities and reach each of their communities.

TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: So let’s talk a little bit about the abortion pill reversal process. Because I remember hearing about it many years ago, and the doctor who was advocating for this was really kind of a pariah. I mean, people made fun of him because they didn’t believe that it was actually going to work and that was safe. But it’s become a lot more mainstream, hasn’t it?

LISA SEARLE: Yes. So as we all know, chemical abortion is on the rise. So for women who have taken mifepristone, mifepristone is  that first medication used in a chemical abortion, mifepristone blocks progesterone action. So progesterone is the pregnancy maintaining hormone, so without progesterone, you can’t have a pregnancy. So mifepristone blocks progesterone action by binding progesterone receptors in the uterus and placenta. So progesterone is the natural hormone in a woman’s body. So what we do is, and our providers do, they prescribe progesterone. This woman takes progesterone with the hopes of outnumbering and out competing the mifepristone in order to reverse the effects of the drug. So when a woman has taken this medication, she can call our hotline. And our calls are answered by Option Line, a 24/7 line that’s available for women who are seeking information on abortion or care. They can call us at 1-877-558-0333. And they call us and we provide a nurse, we have nurses who answer the hotline calls and do an intake, and we connect them with providers in their community who can prescribe progesterone for them.

TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Is this safe for mom? And if the baby survives, is it safe for the baby? What kind of outcomes are you seeing?

LISA SEARLE: So with the first medication used in chemical abortion, the mifepristone, there are no known birth defects associated with this medication. Progesterone, which is what we use for reversal, progesterone, we have been using progesterone safely for over 50 years. It is the medication that is used for women who are experiencing a threatened miscarriage or for women who have had a history of miscarriage. Progesterone is given just to support the pregnancy. So what we are using is safe, safe for women and safe for the baby. And like I said, the mifepristone, that first medication, is not associated with birth defects.

TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: As a nurse, do you have concerns over the growth in medical abortions because they’re the majority of abortions these days, right?

LISA SEARLE: Yes. So what we’re seeing in 2020, there was, chemical abortion was 53% of all abortions. It is projected that by the end of 2023 80% of abortions will be chemical abortion. So we are concerned. And what is most concerning is that this abortion medication is available to anyone. It is online, it is mail order, anyone can get this medication. So what that means for women is that women are not getting assessments. No one is laying their eyes on these women before they are taking a medication to cause abortion. There’s no ultrasound, so we have no idea how far along they are. There’s no follow up. So that is very concerning for the women that are going this route.

TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: But you are seeing some reasons for hope in recent years, right, I mean, related to the science surrounding the abortion pill reversal, and the attitudes of women that you’re seeing?

LISA SEARLE: You know, science has come a long way. And I think we are finally seeing that science is telling us that a baby is a baby. Just to say ultrasound is a great tool to use when you’re introducing the woman to her child. Women are seeing their babies and some of them did not know it was a baby, they’ve always been educated that it was just a clump of cells, or not educated. But now we have pregnancy resource centers. We have resources in place. Women really don’t want abortion. Women want to solve a problem. So if we can come together we can use our resources, come together and just be there for these women, love them and help them, love them through the problem per se. We are seeing better outcomes.

TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Do you feel like the work of Heartbeat International, and specifically the Abortion Pill Reversal Network, is important for changing hearts and minds toward abortion because it’s really the task before us now, right?

LISA SEARLE: It is all about education. It is all about going out there and reaching, reaching people, reaching organizations, and rescuing people, rescuing lives. And that’s what at Heartbeat International, that’s what we do. We go out, we educate, we provide resources that carries through to each community. That’s what we’re here for.

TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: What about advice for some of our listeners who might want to get involved in this Abortion Pill Rescue Network, what would you say to them as far as how they can get involved

LISA SEARLE: I would say again, it is all about education and what they can do. Get into your community and spread the word. Go to your churches, go to your lawmakers, go to those in leadership and spread the word about the resources available. And your local pregnancy help organizations, go there, donate, be the hands and feet that they need to carry out their services that service women. Get involved in their banquets, get involved in their walks, support them. Ask them, how can I help?

TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: How about for fellow nurses? Are you seeing that there’s a need for others who might want to get involved either on a full time basis or just volunteering part time?

LISA SEARLE: Yes, absolutely. The nurses, of course, you are needed in your local centers. If you are interested in working with us at Heartbeat International, you can reach out to us at We will be glad to answer any questions that you have and direct you in the right way. You can also reach out to that email address if you’re interested in providing abortion pill rescue services. We’ll be happy to help you get the right material.

TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Give us some examples, because you’ve said that people can get involved at these centers, that nurses can get involved. What are some of the specific ways, what would, if they were to walk in and say I want to volunteer what are some opportunities that they might be presented with to do in these centers?

LISA SEARLE: Their local pregnancy center has a nurse, they need a nurse to do a pregnancy test. Clients come in for pregnancy testing and for verification of pregnancy. So that would be one thing the nurse could do. Nurse can sit with a client one-on-one and just kind of navigate through what is going on. What is the problem and just help her – the client, when I say her client – navigate the path that she’s going down. The nurse also can provide ultrasounds, with a little additional training, can provide ultrasounds and maybe there are some nurses out there that already have that or since sonographers that might be interested. There is a big need for that for sure.

TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: So one more time. Give us your contact information before we go, Lisa Searle with Heartbeat International.

LISA SEARLE: Our hotline number, this would be for someone that you know that is seeking reversal, is 1-877-558-0333 You can also go to the abortion pill reversal website, which is to learn more about abortion pill reversal. And if you have any questions you can reach out to us at and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.

TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: All right, Lisa Searle thank you so much for being with us today on Family Policy Matters.

LISA SEARLE: Thank you so much.

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