The Martyrdom of St Dermot

What sort of a sick world are we living in today? Doctors are no longer those who prolong life, but who end it; and those who seek to prolong life and to nurture it are sanctioned and threatened.

The case of Dr Dermot Kearney may have come to your attention – the man who saved the lives of at least 38 children has now been banned from prescribing this treatment, and faces further constraints on his wider medical practice.

Dr Kearney is one of a tiny number of doctors in the UK providing a little-known but crucial service called Abortion Pill Reversal/APR (which I’ve written about before) which allows women who have taken the first medical abortion pill to effectively and safely reverse its action, often resulting in the life of the baby being saved.

Any other treatment which had such a high success rate (between 50-68%, based on Dr Kearney’s own figures, and the Delgado study mentioned in my previous article) would be celebrated and wholeheartedly adopted across the board.

What’s the problem? Why are doctors being sanctioned for using what is essentially a safe, unexciting HRT tablet to save lives?

The problem is it challenges the narrative of MSI (Marie Stopes International) and other pro-abortion providers. You must accept the narrative to survive. It is not allowed to change your mind about whether to proceed with your abortion. You must have no regrets. So you’ve been coerced into taking the first pill? You were drunk when you took it? You took it on a whim, and have now changed your mind? Or else you’ve wrestled through a long night, you’ve looked into the abyss, and realised the awful gravity of what you’ve just done, and want to keep your baby? Tough. Pro-choice abortion provider? No-choice, no second chance, no grace allowed.

MSI will not mention APR, they will not offer it, and they certainly will not refer you to an agency who will provide it. In fact, the very presence of APRN is a threat to them, hence this cynically planned takedown of Dr Kearney, nothing short of an apparent hit job on a man of impeccable standing, by all accounts an excellent and competent clinician, and an important Christian healthcare worker – he is President of the Catholic Medical Association in the UK. MSI want to be the sole voice in ‘reproductive rights’, and the Christian views on personhood, sex, marriage, parenthood are inimical to them.

I’ve put a few points down about specific issues which are concerning, and also addressing specific points which have been raised in opposition:

  1. In bringing this complaint, MSI are over-reaching by trying to quell any opposition to the services they offer. In not offering or mentioning APR themselves, they do not give fully informed consent, and in fact conceal information from their patients, for clear ideological purposes. That information could have saved countless thousands of lives over the last few years that APR has been used.
  2. In sanctioning Dr Kearney, the General Medical Council show themselves to be biased and overly-familiar with MSI – a huge and well funded organisation with many influential supporters, but scrabbling at some veneer of respectability by trying to hide the links with its eugenicist founder.
  3. Critics of APR cite a recent article in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, to shown that the technique is dangerous – this is disingenuous. The study method itself is ghoulish – find 40 women who are going to have a surgical abortion at 12 weeks anyway, and get them to take mifepristone earlier on to cause a medical abortion, then give half progesterone to attempt to reverse the medical abortion (only to kill the child later), and the other half a placebo. In the end, they only recruited 12 women – a woefully tiny and under-powered cohort. The study was ended prematurely (like the lives of the children involved) after three of the participants had heavy bleeding. Heavy vaginal bleeding is the usual outcome of taking abortion pills. Only one of those three women had taken progesterone, which in itself does not usually cause bleeding. In the small print, the study noted that four of the women who had taken progesterone had evidence of a viable pregnancy on ultrasound, compared with only two who had taken placebo. Interestingly, this is a 50% success rate, which is the number that Dr Kearney cited in his own work. But the critics cite the lack of evidence of efficacy of APR – there are excellent reasons why we do not generally run prospective medication trials on pregnant women, but generally rely on retrospective data, being very cautious, and discussing the risks versus the benefits when prescribing medication in pregnancy.
  4. A criticism of APR cited is that it is medication which is not licensed for this use. Progesterone is widely used for Hormone Replacement Therapy and in fertility treatments. It is “Not known to be harmful” in pregnancy, as per the same BNF entry. Every single doctor who has ever prescribed a medication will have used a medication which is not specifically licensed for a particular use. The official UK Government advice is that the Doctor acts in the patient’s best interests – “there are clinical situations when the use of unlicensed medicines or use of medicines outside the terms of the licence (ie, ‘off-label’) may be judged by the prescriber to be in the best interest of the patient on the basis of available evidence“. There is thorough advice from the GMC on this same subject (Prescribing unlicensed medicines – GMC (, sections 103-109) – looking at one particular section –

I sincerely hope that Dr Dermot Kearney is exonerated for his work done to date, and allowed to continue in this work, free of sanctions, with an unblemished record. If MSI really wanted to be pro-choice, they would counsel patients seeking abortion on APR, and offer it themselves, or refer to people like Dr Kearney. Is that going to happen? Unlikely. The best that we can aim for is for APR to be recognised as a legitimate treatment, with excellent success rates, good safety profile, available in any GP’s surgery in the land at short notice on an emergency basis, at low or no cost. Think of the lives that could be saved.

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