UK doctors are calling on the General Medical Council (GMC) to investigate MSI Reproductive Choices’ medical director, Dr Jonathan Lord, over a series of professional misconduct concerns, which include him ‘harassing’ and ‘scaring’ a vulnerable woman in a crisis pregnancy.
The story follows the vindication of Dr Dermot Kearney last year following a campaign, instigated by Dr Lord, which sought to have him struck off for providing life-saving treatment to women who take the first abortion pill but change their mind and want to keep the baby.
However, despite the ruling from the GMC vindicating Dr Kearney and stating that APR is safe, Dr Lord has aggressively continued his campaign against the treatment.
‘Deliberately provided misleading information’
In the letter submitted to the GMC this week, the doctors say that Dr Lord – who is also the spokesperson for Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) on abortion issues – “may have deliberately provided misleading and incorrect information to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to influence a decision in favour of his political stance in relation to abortion pill reversal therapy using Progesterone.”
They add that they believe Dr Lord should be investigated for possible professional misconduct for “deliberately providing misleading information to a patient,” and for providing misleading information to the general public, NICE and the GMC to further “his own political ideology and vehement opposition to abortion pill reversal therapy and doctors providing that service.”
The letter is also supported by a witness statement from a woman, ‘Kate’, who wishes to remain anonymous. During a crisis pregnancy she has told the GMC that she was harassed and ‘scared’ by Dr Lord, who wanted her to provide a false witness statement against the support Dr Kearney had given her.
The Abortion Pill Rescue (APR) treatment involves administering the natural hormone progesterone to a pregnant woman who wishes to reverse the effects of the first abortion pill, mifepristone.
To date, 36 women who received APR treatment in the UK have given birth to healthy babies.
Caseworkers for the GMC previously dismissed every allegation against Dr Kearney and concluded that there was no case to answer. They found that the women he had supported, demonstrated in multiple supportive witness statements, had received high-level support and concluded, following expert evidence, that abortion reversal treatment is safe.
‘Dr Lord scared and pressurised me when I was vulnerable’
The doctors state to the GMC that the only evidence of anyone providing a poor service to vulnerable women relating to abortion reversal treatment, stems from the actions of Dr Lord and MSI Reproductive Choices. For example, the doctors profile the story of ‘Kate’, who says she was ‘harassed’ and coerced by Lord. and was even forced to block his number while recovering from serious post-abortion complications.
The letter says:
“Dr Lord, having already made a complaint about [Dr Kearney] to the GMC, contacted her and apparently tried to persuade her to provide a false witness statement against the doctor who had helped her, presumably to convince the GMC that this doctor was guilty of professional misconduct. When the patient would not continue speaking to him by telephone (she actually blocked his attempt to call her), Dr Lord then sent her an email on the same day. In this email, he informed her falsely that ‘there are other patients who have raised concerns, and when this happens we have a duty to report those concerns to the medical regulator, the GMC.’
“There is no evidence to support this statement. It appears that Dr Lord may have been desperately trying to persuade this patient with misleading information that the doctor who had helped her, was guilty of causing concerns for other women. This was in order for her to support his false allegations made against another doctor.”
Regarding Dr Kearney’s treatment, Kate said he was “amazing. He was not judgmental, was very professional, and he was realistic about the success rate after prescribing me with progesterone from my local pharmacy… He did not push anything on me – he just cared. If it wasn’t for him, I think I might even be dead by now.”
Despite Dr Kearney’s intervention, Kate panicked and phoned Marie Stopes and told them about the progesterone and asked them whether they believed the abortion could be reversed. She was told it would not work and that she must take the second abortion pill.
Over the following days due to having taken the first abortion pill, Kate sadly miscarried, became very unwell and had to call an ambulance twice. Marie Stopes failed to provide proper aftercare and Dr Kearney supported her throughout the crisis.
Misleading NICE guidelines
The doctors have sent the letter to the GMC following publication of guidelines by the NICE which include new recommendations, heavily influenced by the abortion industry and Dr Lord, on the use of Progesterone for preventing recurrent miscarriage.
In the section on ‘Why the committee made the recommendations’, it states that:
“The committee confirmed that the recommendations for the use of progesterone are only for women with early pregnancy bleeding and a history of miscarriage. The recommendations are not applicable in other circumstances, such as after the use of mifepristone.”
This statement was made following a consultative process and submissions made by a number of UK abortion providers, including BPAS, BSACP, MSI Reproductive Choices UK.
The submissions expressed concern over the recommendation for Progesterone treatment in order to prevent miscarriage, specifically in relation to a possible use for Progesterone in preventing induced miscarriage after Mifepristone administration.
In their submission to influence the NICE final guidelines, MSI Reproductive Choices UK, led by Dr Lord, state:
“As an abortion provider we are aware of anti-abortion groups exploiting vulnerabilities among people who experience complicated feelings in the aftermath of their choice to have an abortion. Prescribing progesterone in such circumstances would be at best ineffective and at worse actively harmful.
“We have received calls to our post-operation support telephone line from women who have been prescribed progesterone under these circumstances and have had a poor experience. Unless the language is amended, we foresee a real likelihood that those with an anti-abortion agenda would exploit this as a loophole in the guidance which they could use to justify inappropriate or unsafe of progesterone for those experiencing emotional conflict, or indeed those experiencing reproductive coercion, having taken mifepristone.”
However, the pro-life doctors identify in their letter to the GMC that:
“No evidence was provided by MSI Reproductive Choices UK to NICE demonstrating that women had suffered a poor experience after they had received Progesterone from doctors attempting to help them preserve their pregnancies after they regretted that they had taken Mifepristone.”
Furthermore, they cite the GMC judgment in Dr Kearney’s case stating that:
“The GMC obtained their own expert medical evidence and their expert acknowledged that Abortion Pill Reversal using Progesterone may provide benefit and refuted the notion that this treatment is ineffective: ‘The allegation that APR treatment is ineffective is not supported by available literature. In fact, available evidence suggests that there may be a treatment benefit’…”
Manipulated studies on progesterone
Despite the GMC’s judgment and expert evidence, the pro-life doctors say that Lord has continued to speak out against APR by making claims that there is no evidence to support its use and that it may be dangerous.
Dr Lord has repeatedly claimed that there is an 82% fetal survival rate after taking the first abortion pill. The figure comes from a study of women where, unusually, the pregnancy had continued after taking one or both abortion pills.
From the same study, using Dr Lord’s logic, you would assume a 97% survival rate after taking both abortion pills. The true figure for both abortion pills is more like 0.5-2.8% and for the first pill it is around 20%. Thus Dr Lord is accused of deliberately misrepresenting the survival rate after taking the first abortion pill so as to make it seem as if it is better not to treat such people with Progesterone to mitigate the effects of the pill.
The pro-life doctors argue that Dr Lord has therefore dishonestly misrepresented studies such as the Creinin and Bernard studies to further his agenda. They write:
“In making such exaggerated claims to downplay the effective role of Progesterone in abortion pill reversal therapy (with a proven live birth rate of 50-55%), it can only be concluded that he is deliberately attempting to mislead the public and medical regulators about the true efficacy of Progesterone in this context or else he has a very poor understanding of how to interpret scientific and medical data. In either case, he should not be allowed to continue making such misleading statements as an authoritative spokesperson.”
This story is the latest in a series of serious incidents involving MSI and their services. In 2017, for example, a report from the Care Quality Commission found that MSI staff were being paid bonuses to persuade women to have abortions.
Women should be properly informed
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, who has supported Dr Kearney’s legal case, said: “Jonathan Lord prides himself on being an advocate for women. His actions in this case, however, display the opposite and a breath-taking lack of professionalism.
“Jonathan Lord is so ideologically driven that he will stop at nothing to shut down those who think differently even to the point of contacting women personally to persuade them to complain. What Jonathan Lord found when he did that was that it was in fact Dr Kearney from whom the women were getting the real care and not MSI.
“He has ignored the judgment from the GMC and independent expert evidence which said that abortion reversal and progesterone is safe. He must be held to account and the latest NICE guidance rescinded and amended.
“The abortion lobby claims to be in favour of choice but their actions demonstrate that they believe the only legitimate choice is to abort.
“Dr Kearney continues to be targeted by Jonathan Lord and the abortion industry for saving babies’ lives at the mother’s request.
“Women should be properly informed by abortion providers, as a matter of course, that the baby’s death is not inevitable after the first pill is taken.
“The GMC, NICE and the Department for Health and Social Care should not be placing so much trust in abortion providers. It is time for independent bodies and examiners to shape abortion policy, not abortion providers ideologically wedded to abortion at any cost.”
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