CV NEWS FEED// CatholicVote’s Erika Ahern sat down for a special LOOPcast interview with Indiana-based pro-life doctor, Casey Delcoco.
Dr. Delcoco discussed her training in various methods of natural family planning as well as her experience successfully reversing multiple chemical abortions. “I try to remind patients that fear is not from the Lord,” she said. “We don’t want to make decisions out of fear. We want to make decisions out of freedom.”
Erika Ahern: Welcome to this special edition interview with LOOPCast. My guest today is Dr. Casey Delcoco, and she practices family medicine specializing in maternal and child health. She studied at the University of Notre Dame, graduated from Tulane University’s School of Medicine in New Orleans. So a southern girl. Are you originally southern?
Dr. Casey Delcoco: Originally from Evansville, Indiana. So kind of [the south].
Erika: But not you know–
Casey: Not the far south. (laughs)
Erika: Got it. (laughs)
Okay. So in addition to these amazing qualifications, she also completed a medical fellowship in the Creighton Model of Fertility Care and a NaPro [Natural Procreative] Technology from the Pope Paul VI Institute.
In 2011, she completed her residency training in family medicine at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana, with a focus, as I said, on maternal and child health and obstetrics. And she was board-certified as a family medicine physician in 2014.
Since completing her residency, she started her own faith-based family medicine practice. I encourage everyone to go check them out. I will leave it in the show notes. [It’s] called Magnificat Family Medicine, and provides holistic care that upholds the dignity of men, women and children.
Casey is a known speaker on a variety of topics, including pro-life issues, natural family planning, infertility, faith and medicine, and theology of the body.
So she clearly has a very boring life, right? (laughs) She’s always going, Go, go, go.
So welcome, Dr. Delcoco, to LOOPcast.
Casey: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Erika: Absolutely. And I wanted to talk to you because very recently on Good Friday 2023, we received news that a judge in Texas ordered the FDA to withdraw its approval of mifepristone. The primary drug used in a two-step chemical abortion. The case is now mired in a complex appeals process and most likely headed to the Supreme Court.
Pro-abortionists are enraged by the decision. The mainstream media is just livid over the suggestion that the FDA made an error in its judgment 20 years ago. And the narrative is all about how safe mifepristone is, how its approval is settled science, and that this ruling will cause irreparable harm to women.
And so I wanted to talk to a doctor who actually works with women who are undergoing this process.
So, could you share with us a little bit about the abortion drug, mifepristone, its effects on mothers, and also your own experiences treating women who’ve begun this chemical abortion process?
Casey: Sure. Thanks, Erika. Thank you for the opportunity to be here. So, I have never prescribed mifepristone. I actually don’t prescribe contraceptives. We only prescribe natural methods of family planning, which is why I was so grateful to get the training in the Creighton Model and NaPro Technology, which is really key when we’re talking about the medication abortion and the abortion pill reversal process.
So, the Creighton Model is modern scientific[ally] effective for family planning to help couples avoid and achieve pregnancy as good as anything on the market, 98% effective at avoiding pregnancy. And then with NaPro Technology, which stands for Natural Procreative Technology, it is the women’s health science that really seeks to restore normal function.
So really, in medical school, we’re taught that hormonal contraceptives are the panacea for women’s health and can treat everything: ovulation problems, PCOS, endometriosis. [It] doesn’t matter what a woman’s condition is, that’s really all we’re taught: slap the birth control pill on it.
Unfortunately, this is not good medicine, and we know actually that one of the mechanisms of how [the birth control pills] work is to prevent early pregnancy and actually cause early abortions. So that is concerning.
And a lot of women don’t realize that. And when we talk about their options, including hormonal, including natural surgical, and barrier methods, they’re often shocked to learn that.
So NaPro is great because it uses, you know, investigative techniques at the right time of the cycle to figure out what’s going on, and then help get things back to normal and restore normal function. That is really key.
And so, I do use hormones to treat a lot of GYN conditions and also pregnancy complications. But they’re bioidentical – just like [what] the woman’s body makes, not the artificial kind and contraceptives and so on. So, when we talk about mifepristone, it is definitely an artificial kind of fake hormone, if you will.
It’s what we call a progesterone antagonist. So, what it does when a woman is pregnant is actually kick progesterone off of the receptors and bind them, such that then the placenta and the baby will not be able to be sustained. And so the medication abortion process in the U.S. was approved back in 2000, with mifepristone. Actually, the initial approval process and applications started back in the nineties under the Clinton administration. And actually [involved] a pro-eugenics organization called the Population Council that a lot of people don’t realize.
Live Action has a great timeline of the FDA’s initial approval and all the steps that have happened up until now which is great.
So mifepristone was initially approved to be given by a clinician in front of the patient, like the patient takes it in front of the clinician.
As we move along to the Obama Administration, that was actually when a lot of safety measures were removed from mifepristone. And then, it was able to be given without these regulations, without seeing a provider.
And then we fast forward to 2020 and the pandemic, and it was pushed through that now the mifepristone could be given even over the phone. Basically tele-abortion.
Erika: They can mail it to you.
Casey: Exactly. And then we know that it was actually approved for mail-order just a few months ago after the first of the year.
And then now with the judge removing the FDA’s approval, it’s all up in the air.
So, it’s really interesting. And I think it’s just pretty shocking to say that, you know, removing a drug that ends a human life is going to be dangerous to women.
Abortion is not health care. Abortion is a reflection that society has not met the needs of women.
Abortion is always the taking of an innocent human life. And women deserve better than abortion.
So, I think that getting this medication off the market is great news for women and children and families.
Erika: I really liked the dichotomy that you drew between what you do, which is restoring the body to its normal function. Which is what we think of when we think of medicine, right?
It’s like something is off with a system in my body. I need to go to a doctor to see if it can be restored.
Whereas the way you described how mifepristone works, [is] it’s interrupting a natural, normally functioning female reproductive system.
Which is the opposite of healthcare and medicine.
Casey: Exactly. Pregnancy is not a disease. Pregnancy is a sign that something has gone right.
It’s normal. It’s natural. It’s normal physiology. And yes, in medical school, we spend a lot of time learning about normal physiology, then learning about pathology, disease, and then learning pharmacology and healing in other ways to help get the body back to normal process.
But we know that the hormonal contraceptives cause a pathophysiologic state. They cause disease. They’re an effective “band-aid” for some women, but they’re not healing or treating anything at the root cause.
And root cause medicine is something I’m very passionate about. Taking care of the whole person, mind, body and soul, getting to the root of the problem. And then working to restore normal function and help people feel like themselves.
Which is really what the original Hippocratic Oath that I took when I graduated medical school says. That, number one, we will first do no harm. That we will never give a woman an abortifacient to help her end the life of her child, and that we will never give a patient, an agent or medication to help them take their own life.
And it seems like, of course, in our modern culture, we’ve gotten away from that and certainly in medicine.
So I’m glad to see that there are groups taking steps to try to just provide better care to women and wait out for women’s safety. Because certainly the abortion industry is not doing that.
Erika: And speaking of restoring a bodily function, you’ve been involved in [helping] women who started the chemical abortion process to reverse it.
Can you talk to us a little bit about what that process looks like of getting a woman’s pregnancy back on track when she says, “Oh my gosh, I don’t want to do this to my baby, I don’t want to do this to my body?”
Casey: Absolutely. So the medication abortion is a two step process. So [step] one is mifepristone. And then within 12 hours later, they’re supposed to take misoprostol.
Misoprostol still is a uterine agonist. It basically causes contractions so that the woman will expel the baby and the placenta, usually still alive.
Now, if a woman just takes mifepristone, the first [step], [also called] RU-486 or the abortion pill, and doesn’t do anything else, there is a 30 to 40% chance that she will still go on to deliver a live baby.
So the failure rate is very high with mifepristone only. Which is why it’s that two step process and the second medication, misoprostol, is necessary to cause the contractions to complete the medication abortion.
That being said, medication abortion success rates are not as high as surgical abortion. And often that’s what happens. So, we know the complication rate is higher with medication abortion rather than with surgical abortions because of this failure.
And side effects of the combination of mifepristone and misoprostol include: cramping, bleeding, hemorrhage, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, dizziness, as well as more serious complications, including hemorrhage, severe infection. And again, the abortion is incomplete, so then there’s retained products, the placenta or other tissue inside the woman that need to be removed.
And then also the possibility of the unrecognized ectopic pregnancy.
That, again, is why it is so important that, you know, if a woman is seeking this, they should get proper care and have a pregnancy test as well as an ultrasound to confirm, “Is there a pregnancy within the uterus?” Or, “Is it an ectopic pregnancy?” which is a totally different situation.
But all of these kinds of basics of OB-GYN care have been thrown out the window with the mail-order abortion pill, which is so dangerous.
One [website is] calling [the abortion pill] Plan C now. One website marketing Plan C said that the abortion pill is safer than Tylenol.
Erika: I read that. Unbelievable.
Casey: Isn’t that horrific? I just spoke to a group of high school students in town a few weeks ago and they were just laughing in shock like, “Well, even we can see that. Of course, it’s not as safe as Tylenol.”
This doesn’t make any sense, you know, But this is just the propaganda that the abortion industry promotes.
So that [are] the step[s], the mifepristone and misoprostol.
What happens if a woman takes that first pill and then says, “Oh no, what have I done? I don’t want to go through with this? I don’t want to have an abortion.” And it happens a lot.
So the first case I had was years ago, and we got a call through the nationwide hotline.
So actually one of my friends and mentors, Dr. George Delgado, who is a NaPro family medicine doctor, who did obstetrics like myself out in California. He had a woman approach him years ago, back in 2011 or 2012, who did the same thing and said, “You have to help me, doctor, you have to help me.”
And he said, There’s nothing we can do. You know, there’s a chance you could still deliver a live baby, but the odds are that the abortion will complete itself.”
And she refused to take “no” for an answer. Okay, now, wait a second. In NaPro technology, we use bioidentical progesterone. Which progesterone is one of the natural female hormones. It’s definitely the dominant hormone of pregnancy.
And we’ve used progesterone to supplement pregnancy and help avoid pregnancy complications for over 50 years. So we know it has a very high safety profile.
And through our NaPro training, we know that the woman has a history of recurrent miscarriage, placenta issues, blood pressure issues in pregnancy, of preterm labor and delivery. The list goes on and on. That we can then use progesterone [in a] high-dose to help that woman have a healthy pregnancy.
And I’ve helped thousands of women in my practice doing so. So Dr. Delgado thought the same thing. “Well, if a woman has a threatened miscarriage, we can use progesterone to help her – we’ve had success with that. What if that would work here?”
So, he basically gave her high dose bioidentical progesterone injections and waited and watched. [He] followed her with ultrasounds and blood levels, and she ended up delivering a normal, healthy baby.
Erika: Oh, beautiful.
Casey: And yes, the protocol was born and it’s had some alterations over the years.
We can use injections of progesterone, oral, topical, vaginal suppositories. There’s lots of different ways we can give it. It’s safe and effective. And over 2,000 babies now in the United States have been born alive because of this process.
So what they do is go online and find, you know, “I regret my abortion,” or, gosh, “Is there an option to reverse?”
There is actually a website and a hotline that is run 24/7/365 by RNs, registered nurses. So they do an intake and say, “You know, what did you take? What’s your situation? How far along are you?” They get all the details and then they say, “Okay, what’s your location?” And then they call an abortion pill reversal doctor in their area.
And I’m one of the ones on the list for the Indianapolis area. So I’ve gotten the call many times. We’ve had over 20 patients – over 20 calls since I started my practice back in 2015.
And I myself delivered five of those babies, provided prenatal care and provided delivery care for them. Which is pretty humbling and amazing and an emotional experience in the delivery room, as you can imagine. This baby that almost didn’t make it is now here and alive and healthy. And the parents are so thrilled.
There were four patients who also stayed pregnant and delivered elsewhere in more rural areas in Indiana. And then a lot of patients who were lost to follow-up. So, maybe they started the reversal process with progesterone treatment and then stopped coming or stopped answering their phones. And so we’re not sure how those pregnancies ended up, but we know that progesterone is safe, that it doesn’t cause any birth defects.
Actually, the American College of OBGYNs has a bulletin about this. You know that mifepristone, the abortion pill, has never been shown to cause birth defects in the babies who were sort of accidentally born alive after a failed abortion.
And we know progesterone – of course not. Like I said, we have over 50 years of efficacy.
So, it’s pretty amazing. One thing I’ll share is that in that very first case, that very first patient who did deliver successfully, and she’s actually testified about her experiences and everything on legislation here and in Indiana. I remember that a few weeks after we had started the reversal process, gotten an ultrasound, things were looking good.
She was progressing as normal in the first trimester, and she got a call from Planned Parenthood who called her and [she] said, “Oh, they do their own follow up studies and follow up analysis,” as you can imagine.
So they were calling to see how her abortion went. And they said, “How did it go?”
And she said, “Well, actually, I didn’t go through with it. And I did this thing called abortion pill reversal.”
And they said, “What? That’s foolish. Your baby’s going to be born with birth defects. You need to come back here and get the medications and go through with it again.”
Casey: She called us in a panic. She was so frightened and so hysterical. And so we just said, “Look, you know, let’s calm down. Let’s not make a decision in crisis here. We know that you’ve been doing well. Nobody can promise a normal, healthy baby. We can tell you, as we know, the safety of progesterone. And, you know, they’re just trying to scare you.”
And she saw that. She calmed down and really just was able to see the wisdom in sticking with her initial decision, which was to reverse the abortion.
And so thank goodness she delivered a normal and healthy baby.
And we know with the protocol, there’s not great big randomized controlled trials as there’s not for a lot of things in pregnancy. Because that wouldn’t be how you want to save your baby and reverse the abortion. “Let’s give you a placebo. Let’s give this other lady treatment.”
Erika: Oh my goodness. Right.
Casey: Like, of course, that’s not going to be the case. But we do have case studies, and preliminary studies have shown anywhere from a 64 to 68% success with the abortion pill reversal process. And one study actually even showed 80% success.
So, we do know that the sooner a woman starts progesterone right after she takes mifepristone or the abortion pill, the higher the chances.
So, that’s the goal. Ideally within 24 to 48 hours or sooner if possible.
Erika: So as soon as possible. That’s really good to know. And just what a wonderful, amazing process to be part of to see that salvation happen for that baby and and for the mom as well.
Casey: It’s a blessing.
Erika: Yeah. So when you talk to these women, I would like to try and understand. I think some of our listeners sometimes write in, and the language that they use about women who are considering abortion or have started this process – it’s hard to be charitable or to understand what would drive someone first to do this to her body.
And obviously we have all the lies that they’re being told when they go into Planned Parenthood. They’re not being told about the complications. They’re not being told what actually happens to the baby at each step.
But I don’t know if you’ve ever spoken to one of the women you worked with about her internal process through this whole thing, like what brought her to the chemical abortion and what made her change her mind?
Casey: Oh, absolutely, yes. I first got experience speaking to women who are considering abortion when I worked at a certified medical clinic, a pregnancy center in New Orleans, right next door to the largest abortion clinic in Louisiana. Praise God, that clinic has now closed. So they are no longer doing abortions.
But it wasn’t like here in Indianapolis where, you know, Planned Parenthood and the women’s care center, they’re really far apart. And Planned Parenthood built a huge wall, so women over there couldn’t see the beautiful scenery and flowers, and just welcoming environment of the pregnancy [resource] center next door.
Our doors were only like 15 yards apart. So it was like sometimes women would accidentally stop in a pregnancy center, thinking that they were at the abortion center.
I’ll never forget one woman stormed in one time, young woman, early twenties, and said, “Well, they were pretty mean to me over there. What do you guys do over here?”
And we were like, “Okay!”
Erika: Could you be nicer? (laughs)
Casey: Yes, exactly. (laughs) And of course we are. So, we had a welcoming environment, we had essential oils going and light music and just flowers and a chapel, actually. So Jesus was there on the premises.
Casey: We had daily Mass and adoration. But yes, [with] the women coming in, I was taught right away to say, “We don’t provide abortion or refer for it.” Because we want to be very honest. But we do talk about it because it’s an option women consider along with parenting and adoption.
The biggest goal was to get women to slow down. Because think about it, when we’re in crisis, our bodies go and fight-or-flight mode and we think, gosh, we get it right now. Exactly. We need to do something to fix it so then we can be at peace.
And it’s like, no, no, no. Let’s slow down to make this very, very important decision because no matter what you do, you could not erase a pregnancy.
They’ve done studies and autopsies on moms and found babies’ DNA in their brains. Part of the baby lives with mom forever, which is amazing. A part of God’s design, right? That’s actually how you’re able to have your early gender reveal party. And find out the sex of the baby by ten weeks of pregnancy.
Which, incidentally up to ten weeks now, is how long they’re giving the abortion pill. The initial approval was only through seven weeks, but that got pushed back in 2016 to ten weeks, which is despicable.
But, yes, part of the baby’s DNA is literally floating around a mom’s body. And we can test that and tell the sex of the baby and other things.
So, we tell women there’s nothing you’re going to do that’s going to erase this pregnancy. So we need to think long and hard about this. Many of the reasons that women give – because the women seeking the most abortions in this country are age 20 to 24 – which is college and right after college.
And they see they don’t feel like they have a choice, that they have no support from the father of the baby. That they’re worried about finances. They’re worried about their career, they’re worried about parental support.
And we know that women of all faith backgrounds are choosing abortion at the same rates, including Christians and Catholic Christians.
So, we know that those are the reasons that they’re citing, that it’s extremely rare that it’s the exceptions where it was rape or incest. That the majority is just social reasons.
And that is heartbreaking because that means, again, society needs to do a better job of supporting these women.
I actually had an opportunity to work with the group Feminists for Life. They came to Tulane Medical School. They spoke to the entire campus undergrad and all the graduate programs. They really are seeking to change society and really remind people that the original feminists, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, were very pro-life.
They knew that they didn’t want women’s children to be taken away from them, whether from abortion or other ways.
And so the group Feminists for Life actually goes around to college campuses and works with both pro-life and pro-abortion student groups saying, “Okay, let’s try to meet in the middle here. If a woman finds itself pregnant, what are her resources? Can she defer classes for a semester? Are there childcare options? Is there housing for her and her child? Or if she gets married, is there housing for families on campus and things like that?”
So, I think [it’s] really working together to better support women who are in these decisions. And unfortunately, so much of decision making around abortion is surrounded in fear.
So, I try to remind patients that fear is not from the Lord. We don’t want to make decisions out of fear. We want to make decisions out of freedom. [I ask them,] “Do you really feel like you’re making this decision out of freedom.”
And of course, the answer is usually “no.”
So we were able to help so many women, and that’s what I’ve been able to do in working with the Gabriel Project here in town, as well as the Women’s Care Center. I’ve seen some women who literally were on the abortion table at Planned Parenthood and just decided, “You know what, I can’t go through with it.”
And there’s a reason that [abortion facilities] don’t show women the ultrasound. So, that’s one of our goals too. To just make the pregnancy more visible and more real to women.
So, we do offer ultrasound in my office and really just try to educate. That’s one of the things I love about the Live Action organization. If you ever watch when they go out and they ask, “Are you pro-choice or what are your thoughts about life?”
And people are always like, “Oh, yeah, I’m pro-abortion, pro, a woman’s right to choose.”
And they’re like, “Oh, okay. So you wouldn’t mind watching this little 30 second video about actually what an abortion surgical procedure is.”
And I mean, sometimes you can see their faces and their visceral reaction and they’re like, “Wow, I didn’t know that what it was.”
I remember one gentleman said, well, “Nobody should be able to make that choice.”
Erika: You hit the nail on the head there.
Casey: It’s a human life.
But I think, you know, out of sight, out of mind.
And the other side has done a good job of convincing people it’s “not really a baby.” And so really just trying to get that education out there is so important.
Erika: So, that’s so awesome. I love the way that you put it, not out of fear, but out of freedom. And we can only have freedom if we have truth and knowledge about what’s going on with our bodies. And also love the way that Feminists for Life – they’re just like, we can all get behind supporting women to have more freedom and education and knowledge.
At least you’d think that we could all get behind that.
Casey: If it was truly about choice, that would be it.
Erika: That would be it.
Casey: Unfortunately, I don’t think it is. Do you know, Erika, that we had a nurse on the abortion pill reversal hotline reach out to me, like a year or so after I started doing this, and she said that she had found out that the Planned Parenthood in Chicago had figured out that we were doing abortion pill reversal, and it started giving women double the dose. To try to prevent [the abortion] from being overturned.
So this is not about choice. This is about taking human lives.
Erika: Right. And you can’t think of any other drug where if a doctor is just like, oh, I’ll just double the dose to make sure that their body breaks down.
That’s just it’s so criminal—
Casey: And diabolical.
Erika: Yes, it is.
Casey: One thing that you said is knowledge about our bodies. That is one thing I’m really passionate about as well.
You know learning to shave is part of becoming a young man, right? Like men kind of get taught by their dads an important step into manhood and so on.
I think learning about cycles and about the feminine fertility cycles and the fertile windows and all of that is so important.
So we do teach teens. It’s a modified program of the Creighton Model. And I’m actually working with my fertility care practitioner in my office on a teen-specific curriculum.
But we just think it’s so important that young women are taught this because then they’re learning about how their body is made. The whole point is to prepare for pregnancy and for life.
And so it just teaches a respect for fertility rather than a fear.
And [once] we appreciate and respect our bodies, then, you know, we can really use them in the way that God intended.
Erika: I love that because, you know, you talk to a lot of Catholic moms and I have five daughters and one son, six children. I can’t even keep track anymore! (laughs)
Casey: You’re very blessed. (laughs)
Erika: I am. I’m very, very blessed. But, you know, there’s a debate going on among the Catholic homeschool moms and they’re like, “Should we even teach tracking?” Because, well, that would encourage them, “Oh, I can have sex at this time.”
And I’m like, “No, no, no. That’s not the point of teaching them to track.” It’s so that they understand there’s so much more to fertility than you’re married and you want to get pregnant or avoid pregnancy.
It’s so much about your health. It’s a huge part of your physical system. And girls should know how to see warning signs – and what’s normal, what’s not, what can be treated, what’s just part of the process.
Casey: Absolutely, because I see so many teenagers who get put on the birth control pill for debilitating pain, cramps, acne and all these things.
And NaPro technology can treat all those things and then help women avoid the heartache of infertility down the road. Because I see so many women get put on the pill, then five, ten, 15 years later, when they’re ready to come off of it, they’re still having all the problems they had, [but] usually much worse.
And now their fertility is really impacted. Not always, but very often. And so I’ve sent teenagers for endometriosis surgery with our NaPro surgery colleagues because it was evident that that’s what was going on.
Casey: I’m just so thankful for the training and just to be able to offer women and teens better care, for sure.
Erika: Yeah, that’s awesome. Well, I look forward to seeing that curriculum once you’ve develop it, so be sure to keep us updated on that.
Casey: We will. For sure. Yes.
I always tease patients and say [that] one of the only good things out of COVID is that insurance is paying for Telemed now.
So a lot of big cities do have narrow providers or Creighton instructors, but not all. And so that’s the one good thing about the Telemed visits is that insurance is paying for them. And then we’re able to help people who don’t have access to care in their areas, which is great.
Erika: That’s really good to know. I’m going to encourage everyone to look you up.
And thank you so much for coming on this show. This has been a great conversation and it’s so uplifting to hear about Catholics who are out in the professional world and making a real difference in lives.
So thank you!
Casey: You’re so kind! Thank you very much!