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Case dismissed against doctor who provided support to women

An NHS doctor who prescribed the hormone progesterone to women who had taken the first abortion pill in a medical abortion but then changed their mind about going ahead with an abortion is no longer under investigation by the General Medical Council (GMC) after they dismissed “hearsay” evidence from an abortion provider and no complaints were made by the women he treated.

Dr Dermot Kearney was banned for 18 months in May 2021 by the doctor’s regulator, the GMC, from providing progesterone to women who had begun the medical abortion process. During a medical abortion, two pills are taken separately to induce the abortion. The progesterone that Dr Kearney provided was taken after the first pill to attempt to reverse its effects.

Over the course of 12 months, the doctor had provided hormone treatment in an attempt to reverse the effects of the first abortion-inducing pill, mifepristone, to 65 women who had initially tried to have an abortion.

In each case, mothers who had decided to have an abortion for various reasons came to regret their decision after taking the first of two abortion pills. Searching online, they came across Dr Kearney who was prescribing the natural hormone progesterone, which occurs in the body and supports pregnancy. Of the 65 women who underwent the full course of hormone treatment from Dr Kearney and Consultant Obstetrician, Dr Eileen Reilly, 32 gave birth to their babies.

However, Dr Kearney had been prevented from providing this treatment after a complaint by Dr Jonathan Lord, director of abortion provider MSI Reproductive Choices (formerly Marie Stopes International). Dr Lord’s complaint, now described as “hearsay” by the GMC, focused on the supposed lack of evidence for the effectiveness of the treatment that Dr Kearney was offering and alleged that Dr Kearney was not impartial in his advice.

Expert evidence

Expert evidence outlined in the GMC’s examiners’ report stated that: “there was no evidence to suggest that APR increases the risk of harm to a foetus”.

In regards to the risks to women taking the treatment, the evidence outlined: “there was limited randomised controlled trial evidence to suggest that APR increases risk of haemorrhage, but this is more likely to be related to the generic risks of Early Medical Abortion (EMA) rather than to specific risks of APR treatment, ie women who fail to complete EMA are at much higher risk of haemorrhage compared with those who do, irrespective of whether they are prescribed APR or not”.

The GMC has “decided to conclude this case with no further action”.

After ten women provided witness statements in support of Dr Kearney and not a single one of the women he helped complained, the GMC chose to dismiss the case saying: “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”.

In witness statements to the GMC, one woman said: “He was amazing. He was not at all judgmental. He was very professional… He was not trying to sell me something I did not want. He told me how he could help me. He was not at all pushy…”

The GMC concurred with this assessment saying that he left women “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”.

Dr Kearney said: “I am relieved and delighted to have been exonerated. I have 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. 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”.

Dr Kearney has “not done anything wrong”.

Amrita Kaur, a 26-year-old model from Lemington Spa, had fallen pregnant and taken the first of two medical abortion pills under pressure from her friends.

“I did it in a moment of anger and upset” she said.

Instantly regretting swallowing the pill, she found Dr Kearney on the internet.

“He was very understanding, telling me “There’s a route we can take”. So I took the progesterone pills and I’ve never looked back. I adore my daughter”.

Her daughter, Ahri-Storm is now four months old, and Amrita is adamant that Dr Kearney has “not done anything wrong”.

“This treatment should be available to those who need it and want it”, she said.

Dr Kearney hopes “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”.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which supported Dr Kearney during the investigation, said: “We are delighted that justice has been served for this brilliant and compassionate doctor. We are, however, deeply concerned that a case was brought against him in the first place and how it was engineered by Jonathan Lord, a director at MSI Reproductive Choices”.

“It is really sad to think of the many women who have been prevented from receiving life-saving treatment since this ban was in place. No woman should be prevented from changing their mind and seeking to save the life of her child”.

“The mantra of the abortion lobby of “my body my choice” should extend to a woman changing her mind about going through with an abortion. The abortion industry does not want to give women that choice”.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended that women who experience bleeding in early pregnancy and have had at least one miscarriage use progesterone.

NICE’s chief executive, Professor Gillian Leng, said that progesterone is: “of benefit to some women, and as an inexpensive treatment option, can be made available to women on the NHS from today”.

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “This is wonderful news. Thank you to Dr Dermot Kearney for your courageous commitment to helping women and their unborn children in spite of a concerted campaign from abortion lobbyists to have you struck off. You are an inspiration to us all”.

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