Pro-Life Consultant

July 04 2022 | by

IT IS LATE on a Sunday afternoon, and in the quiet corner of a coffee shop Dr. Dermot Kearney is talking about women who become pregnant and, for a range of reasons, seek an abortion only to change their minds during the process.

It is a phenomenon which has emerged with the advent in the last couple of decades of “the abortion pill,” or more precisely two pills. The first, mifepristone, causes the placenta to separate from the uterus and a subsequent miscarriage. The second, misoprostol, taken 24 to 48 hours later, makes the womb contract and expel its contents.

The women who have been asking Dr. Kearney to save their babies are those who have taken the first pill and not the second. They seek him out because he is one of a small number of doctors willing to offer Abortion Pill Reversal (APR) treatment, which gives them a 55 percent chance of saving their babies. His willingness to help them has landed the doctor, a softly spoken Irish Catholic in his mid-50s, in a lot of trouble.

We met in Chester-le-Street, not far from the Newcastle hospital where he practises as a cardiologist, shortly after his vindication from allegations of misconduct brought by figures within the UK abortion industry and their allies, and which led to him to being banned from offering Abortion Pill Reversal while he was investigated.

That day, the Mail on Sunday, Britain’s best-selling weekly newspaper, ran a double-page spread about his triumph, telling also of the 32 babies whose lives he has saved, and the joy he has brought to their mothers.


Heroic women


“It’s a huge relief,” he says with a faint smile. “But this story should be about the women. It shouldn’t be about me. I should only be a minor player helping other people. This story should be about women who are seeking help because no help is available to them elsewhere.”

But, perhaps a little mischievously, he still likes to think of himself as a bit like The Equalizer, the vigilante played by Denzel Washington in the 2014 movie of the same name.

“These were people in desperate need who had some injustice thrown upon them, and all the normal legal avenues were closed to them and they couldn’t get the justice they needed, so they turned to The Equalizer when no-one else would help,” he says.

“In desperation they found us,” he adds. “It was that type of service. Nobody else would help them. The need is still there because 160 women in this country alone have been seeking help over the last nine months, and no help has been given.”




I was already aware of the problem before I sat down with Dr. Kearney, a past president of the Catholic Medical Association, having reported on a case about five years ago involving a woman in her 20s who entered a Marie Stopes abortion clinic in London under immense pressure from her boyfriend and her family to get rid of a child they did not wish to see born. The woman’s parents travelled up to the capital from rural Kent to accompany her to make sure she “got it done.”

The woman had swallowed the first pill but, having grave doubts, she refused to take the second, even though a nurse at the clinic harangued her, telling her repeatedly (and inaccurately) that if she did not see the process through then her baby, even if it survived, would be hideously deformed.

To avoid her parents, the woman sneaked into the gardens of the clinic through the kitchen and scaled a 2.5m fence before seeking the help of pro-life pavement counselors, who paid for her to see a private doctor in London’s Harley Street. This doctor saved her daughter by writing a prescription for progesterone, a naturally-occurring hormone which is harmless to women, and which nullified the effects of the first pill.

This is the same hormone that Dr. Kearney has been prescribing to women who contacted him and Dr. Eileen Reilly, a Glasgow-based obstetrician, when they let US partners know they would help women with crisis pregnancies in the UK.


Progesterone prescriptions


Dr. Kearney began to offer his service in June 2020, two months after emergency Covid legislation was introduced to allow women to procure the pills through the post and take them at home instead of in an abortion clinic.

Dr. Kearney would email prescriptions for progesterone to pharmacists, sometimes for women who were half-way through their pregnancies. Sometimes he was taking three calls a day from women complaining that neither abortion providers nor the National Health Service (NHS) would help them once they changed their minds.

The NHS would tell them to do nothing, yet only one in five pregnancies results in a healthy birth when neither the second pill nor progesterone are ingested. Progesterone doubles the chances of a woman keeping her baby after taking the first pill.

By January 2021, however, the work of Dr Kearney had come to the attention of MSI Reproductive Choices, the name Marie Stopes abortion clinics today uses to distance itself from its foundress, a eugenic racist who admired Adolf Hitler.

Along with some allies, the abortion provider complained about Kearney to the General Medical Council (GMC), the regulatory body that has the power to ban the doctors from practising medicine by having them “struck off” the Medical Register.


Ten allegations


In May 2021 Dr. Kearney and Dr. Reilly were prohibited by an Interim Orders Tribunal from offering Abortion Pill Reversal pending a General Medical Council investigation, and Dr. Kearney was called before a “fitness to practice” panel to answer ten allegations arising from the complaint by MSI Reproductive Choices.

These included the claim that he was using unlicenced medication because Abortion Pill Reversal is not listed among the uses of progesterone – which is rich indeed given that misoprostol is not a drug licenced for use in abortion.

Dr. Kearney’s response was to take the General Medical Council to the High Court, with the help of the Christian Legal Centre, arguing that the ban on Abortion Pill Reversal should never have been imposed, but the regulator relented before the case was heard.

Prior to the hearing the General Medical Council had received testimonies from 10 mothers helped by the doctor, and concluded in its final report “that Dr. Kearney left the women he had treated well informed about the treatment, was not judgemental, did not attempt to push his own views on them, and was overall considered to have been highly supportive.”

One woman said, “He was amazing… I was blown away by his kindness. He never pushed anything on me. He just cared. He never pushed religion on me. I am very concerned about what is happening to him so I offered to do what I could to help. He did not ask me to. At a time in my life when I had no hope, he was like a little light. If it wasn’t for him I think I might even be dead now.”


Perfectly safe


The General Medical Council also received evidence from a gynaecologist who practises abortions, and who said that progesterone was perfectly safe for women and there was an evidence base on its use. The General Medical Council also concluded “there was no evidence to suggest Abortion Pill Reversal increases the risk of harm to a foetus.”

Every complaint against Dr. Kearney was dismissed as “hearsay,” with the General Medical Council concluding “there is no prospect of upholding any of the allegations” against the doctor.

“The case examiners have considered the information provided by MSI Reproductive Choices, openDemocracy, Safe Abortion Action Fund UK and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and decided to conclude this case with no further action,” the General Medical Council said in its final report.

It was indeed a good day for the right to choose and Dr. Kearney is planning to resume his service, especially now that the House of Commons has voted to retain the abortion “pills-by-post” scheme post-pandemic.

To his mind, he is convinced he has been “the victim of a coordinated campaign by senior figures in the abortion industry who have been determined to prevent women in urgent need from accessing abortion reversal treatment.”

“At all times my concern and priority has been the women who have been referred to me for urgent medical support,” Dr. Kearney said. “I am humbled by the support they have shown me in return.

“The truth about abortion reversal treatment must now be told and medical professionals who are able and willing to support women with the treatment should be allowed to do so without fear. My hope is that woman across the UK will now be told by medical regulators and abortion providers that abortion reversal treatment is safe, that it is available, and that success is possible if they regret their decision to have an abortion and choose to seek help.”

Updated on July 06 2022