A Year after Dobbs: A Doctor Explains How We Must Respect and Defend the Dignity and Safety of all Human Life (Transcript)

Dr. James Dobson: Well, hello, everyone. I'm James Dobson, and you're listening to Family Talk, a listener supported ministry. In fact, thank you so much for being part of that support for James Dobson Family Institute.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Welcome into Family Talk. I'm Dr. Tim Clinton, co-host of the broadcast. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, honored to serve alongside Dr. Dobson as a resident authority on mental health and relationships here at the JDFI, the James Dobson Family Institute. So glad you joined us today. It was June 24th, 2022 when the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health case effectively overturning Roe v. Wade after 50 years. And even though the pro-life movement received the victory, the battle is still raging on in a culture with the pro-abortion movement stopping at nothing to push their agenda forward, including mail order abortions and the abortion pill to convenience stores nationwide. Our guest today on the broadcast has been passionately fighting for life for many years and has been on the front lines of the battle, educating the courts, media, and the American people on the true harms of the abortion pill.

Her name, Dr. Ingrid Skop. She serves as vice president and director of Medical Affairs for the Charlotte Lozier Institute, an educational institute that advises and leads the pro-life movement with groundbreaking scientific, statistical and medical research. Dr. Skop is a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, where she uses science and statistics to counter pro-abortion agendas, and she's a lifetime member of the American Association of Pro-Life OGBYN Docs. Prior to joining the Charlotte Lozier Institute, Dr. Skop served for over 25 years in private practice in San Antonio where she delivered more than 5,000 babies and personally cared for many women who had been harmed physically, emotionally from complications due to abortion. Dr. Skop is married to a physician and she's the proud mother of two sons and a daughter. Dr. Skop, what a delight to have you. Thank you for joining us here on Family Talk. Dr. Dobson and his wife Shirley send their regards.

Dr. Ingrid Skop: Thank you. Happy to be here.

Dr. Tim Clinton: You've been involved in the life movement for a while and no doubt you've made a lot of acquaintances, but when you reflect back on the pro-life movement and those who influenced it, 50 years, here we are celebrating the anniversary of the Dobbs decision and more this year. Do you remember where you were when the Dobbs decision came down and what you were thinking in that moment?

Dr. Ingrid Skop: I absolutely do. I was at an ethics conference in Chicago and I had recently started working for the Charlotte Lozier Institute. Very, very exciting. I feel like my entire career has led up to the point where I have the experience, the skills, just knowing what women have gone through in regards to abortion and how often they've suffered, and so it was really God guiding my steps. The Dobbs decision happened just a few short months after I began working and it's been nonstop ever since, just trying to help the American public understand this issue.

Dr. Tim Clinton: I'd love for our listeners to learn more about you. Take us back, the Charlotte Lozier Institute. Tell us what it is, your role there and what's happening in and through it.

Dr. Ingrid Skop: We are the research arm of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Sure.

Dr. Ingrid Skop: And we've been around about a dozen years. One of the giants in the pro-life movement, Chuck Donovan, is our president. And it was very apparent that the American people do not understand the issue. They're so often gaslighted by the media.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Oh, it's awful.

Dr. Ingrid Skop: And so we recognize that there is a need for science statistics, and the good news is science backs up the pro-life position from the very beginning when that one celled embryo, he has his own unique genetics and it just goes on and it becomes more complex, more beautiful, more miraculous from there.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Everybody has a little bit of a backstory. I want to go back, how you grew up, and what led you into the medical field and the pro-life movement itself. Can you connect those dots for us?

Dr. Ingrid Skop: I look back and I can see how one thing led to another. How one crooked road for like for so many of us. My father, a pro-life pediatrician. I'm the oldest of six children. There are now 21 grandchildren. My parents chose life for me. They had the opportunity not to go down that road, but God has blessed them because of their choice. So, growing up in that family, I wanted to be a doctor just like my dad. And when I went to medical school and I delivered my first baby, I knew what I needed to do. Since that time, just understanding the miracle of my second patient, understanding that abortion of course, ends his life, but then also just seeing how many of my other patient, the woman, suffered because of this decision. Often fall into it in crisis and have the rest of their life to regret and to sometimes experience the adverse physical and mental health consequences of that decision.

Dr. Tim Clinton: I think I read that you've delivered more than 5,000 babies. Is that true?

Dr. Ingrid Skop: I think that is approximately true, yes.

Dr. Tim Clinton: That's a lot of babies. And those experiences, you probably had all kinds of moments, but I can't imagine when you really begin to think about life. That personhood debate is really been at the heart of all of this, getting that right is everything. Before we go into that though, I just want to tie this piece together. Your passion for the pro-life movement, here you are serving as a doctor. We know that mom and dad chose life for you. You wanted to follow in your dad's footsteps, but when did this really click for you? "This is something I'm going to stand boldly on," because you know the profession's pretty divided. In a lot of respects, you're going to get gaslighted even more because of the stance you're taking, especially in the medical field.

Dr. Ingrid Skop: Yeah, absolutely. I would say in 2013, I live and work in Texas, and we had some legislation come before and I was given the opportunity to testify, so that was my first dip into the water of really speaking about the issue. And from there, all my spare time was researching, just trying to find out what is true because it's very hard to find. Google is not pro-life. This information in many cases is hidden, although fortunately Charlotte Lozier is having the opportunity to get this out in front of the public. But the more I researched, the more I spoke out about it, the more resistance I got. And it is true, it is not easy to be an outspoken pro-life obstetrician. I have suffered professionally, and currently the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology has a letter that says if we advocate against abortion as essential healthcare, that we can lose our board certification. So if you wonder why you don't hear more obstetricians talking about it's because there are active threats.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Yeah. There's a real concern. I mean, people are experiencing program accreditation issues in college and universities. They're getting pushed back on their certifications or their licenses at the state level. I mean, and these boards are getting pushed at the state level to come back. They'll even do revocation of licensure if they feel like you've violated or gone outside, quote, "their truth," what they're looking for, their message, and it's a battle. People don't realize how serious it is. It's a war zone out there. Let's step further. So being involved in the research we come into, we'll call it the post-Roe era. That's where we're at, and thank God what a celebration it was with the Dobbs decision going down. The abortion pill has made the front and center stage of where the debate is, where the battle lines are. Tell us what you're finding through your research, your work about the abortion pill. A lot of people are hearing that it's disastrous, that they're making decisions without doing research about the impact, the effect on women and more. What are you finding?

Dr. Ingrid Skop: Yeah. If I may back up for a minute because I have discovered that many people, including pro-life Christians do not even know the difference between that and the morning after pill called Plan B-

Dr. Tim Clinton: Sure.

Dr. Ingrid Skop: ... which is an action that after the active intercourse wants to try to prevent fertilization. So chemical abortion is totally different. We know that human life is an existence and the intent of chemical abortion is to end that life that we know about. It's two medications, mifepristone tightly regulated by the... Well, until recently, tightly regulated by the FDA. It blocks progesterone receptors. It cuts off the hormonal support and kills that unborn life. It's followed 24 hours later by Misoprostol that essentially induces labor to express the pregnancy tissue. The abortion industry tells women it's safer than Tylenol. This is a very-

Dr. Tim Clinton: I know, you hear that.

Dr. Ingrid Skop: ... clearly misleading. The reason they say that is because 600 Americans die of Tylenol overdoses. Not normal Tylenol use, but Tylenol overdoses, and we don't even know how many women die after abortion because the CDC does not care to keep accurate data. But there's so much to discuss there, but bottom line, four times more complications from a chemical abortion compared to a surgical one. Good quality data tells us 5% of women, one in 20 will present to an emergency room within a month. One in 20 will require surgery, often an emergent conditions, hemorrhaging infection. I've cared for women who've bled for two months.

Dr. Tim Clinton: From taking the abortion pills.

Dr. Ingrid Skop: From taking these pills. When the pills cannot completely complete the abortion.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Yeah, I was going to ask you, have you seen these women?

Dr. Ingrid Skop: Absolutely. I see them all the time, and I'm in Texas and we've had restrictions for a year and a half, and yet they're still... People are bringing them into the state. They're mailing them into the state. Women are going out of state and they're being given these pills and they come back into the state to have their complications. It's crazy, but of course, the plan all along was that if Roe ever fell, this is how they would get abortions to women and circumvent state laws.

Dr. Tim Clinton: So what do we do? I mean, seriously, I know we need to get the word out, but I'm just thinking about the potential threat to our daughters.

Dr. Ingrid Skop: There's no lower age limit, so women can order them over the internet. They can get them delivered in their mailbox without any medical supervision, without anybody doing an ultrasound to determine gestational age because, of course, they fail more frequently the more tissues in there. Nobody's looking to see if there's an ectopic pregnancy, which can be deadly, a ruptured ectopic. No one's doing labs. No one is looking a woman in the eye to determine does she want an abortion? So sex traffickers, incestuous abusers, coercive boyfriends, a 12-year-old victim of incest could be given this pill by her abuser. She could be alone when she hemorrhages, when she has severe pain, when she sees her child's body in the toilet. That is the reality of chemical abortion in our country today. The lawsuit that you mentioned is saying somebody needs to supervise the FDA through a politicized process. They've made this available and we need to back it up, and the American people need to hold them accountable for these dangerous drugs that they're allowing women to have.

Dr. Tim Clinton: If you have listeners at home saying, "Hey, listen, this is happening. I know someone, et cetera," what can they do? What should they do? I mean, can they turn to your organization?

Dr. Ingrid Skop: Well, absolutely. There's support available. The local Crisis Pregnancy Center in many cases has just people whose hearts are for these women who want to support them even in the midst of their complications after abortion to help them with post-abortion recovery programs, but letting people know it's our daughters. I have a college age daughter. At the beginning of this year, an email from the school told them how they could get an abortion in Texas through getting these drugs online. So they're targeting our college students. They're targeting our young women. We've got a mental health crisis in this country.

Dr. Tim Clinton: We do.

Dr. Ingrid Skop: Can you imagine how much worse it's going to get when these women go through that experience?

Dr. Tim Clinton: We don't have a mental health crisis. We have a mental health disaster going on.

Dr. Ingrid Skop: We absolutely do.

Dr. Tim Clinton: It's horrific. I think I understand this right, but in the Fifth Circuit Court in Texas, there's an upcoming ruling.

Dr. Ingrid Skop: Yes, absolutely. It's working its way through. Judge Kaczmarek looked at all the evidence and he said, "Mifepristone as part of the chemical abortion regimen should have never been approved," because there's too many details to go into, but the FDA broke its own rules over and over and over. It went to the Fifth Circuit. They looked at it and said, maybe it should go back to its original conditions, which were more tightly regulated. The Supreme Court took a look and bounced it back to the Fifth Circuit, but the bottom line is it's going to work its way back to the Supreme Court. And if the American public and if journalist will look at the evidence that has been presented in this case, I think that they will all pro-life or pro-choice recognize this should not be available, certainly not in the conditions in which it's currently being used.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Well, we've got to pray and we've got to work like crazy to get to that place. Ingrid, I wanted to just step back and reflect on the pro-life movement for a moment with you. I'd like to say life's winning and I think it's true. We were at the March for Life up in Washington, D.C. this past year, and the young faces up there, the pro-life generation, I mean, they were everywhere. It was stunning to see. We interviewed Kristan Hawkins from Students for Life and more, and I was moved in my spirit about it, but there's a lot going on.

At the same time, I don't think it was seen as much radical pushback like we're seeing when you think of pro-life agencies being hammered seriously and the threats that are coming out. We even saw threats going against the Supreme Court justices and more. It's concerning, and of course, the real goal is to silence and shame and stigmatize people as domestic terrorists, and you even had the administration coming after some of these people, the FBI showing up at the doors of people. How do you stay encouraged? How do you stay not intimidated? How do you stay focused?

Dr. Ingrid Skop: Well, I think we all recognize it's a spiritual battle, and since the Dobbs decision we have seen extremism. And looking at it from that perspective, I actually stay encouraged because I feel like I'm in God's will doing what I'm doing, and I do feel like that the American public, if they knew the truth, I think that this issue would be over. I think the American public, if they knew how much women suffer from abortion, if they considered how much better could we treat them, if we prioritize relationships and support and all the other things that we can do, I think it would be over. And so what we see is that the other side is having to lie and they are getting desperate and the lies are tremendous, and we can push back against those and everybody should visit our website, learn the truth, tell their friends, talk about the issue, and we can start to win hearts and minds, and we will turn this issue.

Dr. Tim Clinton: We always hear trust the science, look at the research, and I love what you do. I love research. In the midst of it, do you ever get discouraged? Because even when you present the facts, you can present them as plain as day. Often, what you'll see is a complete rejection of it. Just say, "Hey, listen, your research is flawed. It was contaminated. It makes no sense. You can't draw those kind of conclusions, et cetera," pressing through that. I mean, what do you do? How do you manage that piece? Because that's ridiculous. It's insane, but it happens. It's unbelievable.

Dr. Ingrid Skop: Yeah. I don't read my Twitter feed. Sadly, I have lost a lot of friends over this issue.

Dr. Tim Clinton: I bet you have, seriously.

Dr. Ingrid Skop: But I have discovered who my true friends are, and I have a text group of about a dozen women that support me, and I love that, and my family's very supportive, which is all wonderful. But yes, just looking at it and reading the Bible and recognizing there have been struggles like this throughout history and there have been people who have felt very alone, and then in retrospect, God worked and they weren't alone, and I think that's where we're going to go with this pro-life issue as well.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Well, these are unprecedented times, but we know God is working. When you look at the survey data, we're told that the majority of Americans want some type of restriction on abortion. They're not for this craziness that we're seeing in culture, and we know Dobbs, by the way, was a huge victory, but at the same time it sent it to the states. And so you get about 22 states bringing real restrictions on abortion in more in other states that are going absolutely crazy and rogue, and wild and allowing abortion all the way up to birthday.

Dr. Ingrid Skop: And past, not even resuscitating babies born alive. They're not willing to protect infants.

Dr. Tim Clinton: You're a physician. I mean, can you imagine doctors participating in that?

Dr. Ingrid Skop: They clearly have to deaden their conscience. There was a recent article in The Atlantic, Warren Hern who does late term abortions where he demonstrated that most of them are purely elective, and he talked about how he lost sleep and he had to essentially deaden his conscience in order to do it. So it's a horrible evil and people need to recognize it is and these women suffer.

Dr. Tim Clinton: I remember interview Abby Johnson and she talked about watching on this screen this dissection, if you will, of this child and how horrific it was to her, and that was the moment. That was it. She could not in her mind do this anymore, and it's just unbelievable the cries of the children. As I've listened to you, I thought, you know what? That's burning deep down inside of you, and we need warriors, real warriors to stand up and be bold and be courageous for such a time as this. It's for the children, and so being called to this mission, if people want to go into being a physician, maybe researching more, what do you say to them?

Dr. Ingrid Skop: Well, we need physicians who are ethical and who practice Hippocratic principles. And unfortunately, I think medicine is losing its way. I think we've all seen this during COVID. There's a number of examples we can point to, but they are actively selecting people who have a pro-choice ideology and it's a problem, and all of us should recognize, don't we all want to be cared for by a doctor in which killing the patient is not in his list of options?

Dr. Tim Clinton: Are physicians coming together? Are you encouraged? Are you seeing good movement?

Dr. Ingrid Skop: There are those of us that are passionate about this. We provide a lot of support. There is a wonderful organization, American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. By the way, they challenged ACOG, American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, a very, very pro-abortion organization to a debate, and ACOG dismissed them and said, "Abortion is settled science." All they can do is relax on euphemisms. If we start digging into the science, I think we will all recognize it has never been proven to help women. It only can be proven to harm them.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Going forward, where do you see it going? What are you praying for? What are you asking God to do?

Dr. Ingrid Skop: I'm asking God to open people's eyes. I'm asking God to open the church's eyes and to have pastors actively engage on this issue. It's a hard issue to talk about. I get it and I understand why. Many pastors I think would say, "Well, we're going to support a crisis pregnancy center," but they're not going to address it from the pulpit. But if one out of four American women, one out of five American men have been involved in abortion, and at least half of those, surveys tell us, come from the church. There are a lot of people suffering in our country, and unfortunately, too often the American church has had its head in the sand. I think if that changes, it would all change.

Dr. Tim Clinton: I think about that young woman who probably makes that decision in a 24-hour window about whether she's going to choose life or not. I remember being in my office one day, Ingrid, you probably have seen these situations many times over, but the phone rang and someone close to me said, "Hey, we're in the car and we're headed to an abortion clinic, and my daughter is determined to take the life of the baby," and she said, "I want you to talk to her." Now, listen, I'm in the middle of having coffee, probably don't even know my name yet in the morning, and here's the call shoved into my lap. And I thought, "What would I say?" You hear what I'm saying?

Dr. Ingrid Skop: Yeah.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Long story short, she chose life of which we all celebrated. And I just thought, we all have moments where God wants to work in and through us. You know that? To be conduit, to bring His message of hope and life to others. Ingrid, there's no way we could end this program without asking this question, and that is, if there's someone out there right now, maybe it's a young lady who is struggling because she's in a predicament, she's pregnant and doesn't know what to do, where to turn, or maybe it's a family and tears are rolling down their face right now saying, "God help us." What should they do?

Dr. Ingrid Skop: Well, if anyone is listening who's experiencing that, I would just say, God loves you. He loves your child, and there are so many people that want to come alongside you and help you. There are 2,700 crisis pregnancy centers in our country. Every city has an organization that can provide material, emotional, relationship help. Her PLAN is a national organization that is working on connecting all of these organizations. Does a woman need housing? Does she need substance abuse treatment? Whatever the need is, there is a safety net that is being created in our country right now to let these people know that they're not alone, that, that child is already living. He is already in existence. You are already a mother if you are in this situation. The question is, are you going to give life and enjoy your child or are you going to make a decision that you have the rest of your life to regret?

Dr. Tim Clinton: Our special guest, again, has been Dr. Ingrid Skop. She's the vice president and director of medical affairs at the Charlotte Lozier Institute. What a delight to have you? I know on behalf of Dr. Dobson and his wife, Shirley, the entire Family Talk team, we salute the work you're doing. We pray that God will continue to give you strength and boldness, courage for such a time as this. Thank you so much for joining us.

Dr. Ingrid Skop: Thank you for this opportunity.

Roger Marsh: The fight for life is far from over, but with God's help we can keep moving forward to protect the health of women everywhere, and praise God that we achieved a victory with the Dobbs decision at the US Supreme Court back on June 24th, 22. It's hard to believe it's almost been one full year since that monumental day with all the progress that was made on that important day. Much work remains to be done to defend babies and mothers in crisis. You are listening to Dr. Ingrid Skop with our co-host, Dr. Tim Clinton today here on Family Talk. If you missed any part of the program, you can listen to it in its entirety by visiting drjamesdobson.org/familytalk. That's drjamesdobson.org/family talk. If you considered value from today's program, please consider partnering with the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute to enable our ministry to continue reaching families.

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