SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Two Utah lawmakers are planning to introduce legislation that would require doctors to tell women they may be able to reverse drug-induced abortions. Most doctors, however, say there is scant evidence and incomplete science to support that claim.
Rep. Keven Stratton of Orem and Sen. Curt Bramble of Provo, both Republicans, are drafting the bill and plan to introduce it during the legislative session that begins in January, reported The Deseret News (https://bit.ly/2gFgtYu ). The same lawmakers sponsored a bill last year that made Utah the first state in the U.S. to require women seeking abortions to undergo anesthesia after 20 weeks of gestation.
A drug-induced abortion requires taking two pills. The first is mifepristone, which blocks progesterone and breaks down the lining of the uterus. The second pill is misoprostol, which causes the body to undergo changes similar to a miscarriage.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists does not support medical abortion reversal and opposed a similar law that passed in Arizona. That law was repealed after Planned Parenthood took the issue to court.
Similar laws have also been passed in Arkansas and South Dakota.
The reversal claim is based primarily on the work of California-based Dr. George Delgado, a physician who published a 2012 article about six women who received progesterone injections after taking the first pill but before taking the second. He said four of the women had healthy babies.
A 2015 review of abortion reversal treatments, however, concluded that Delgado’s study was of poor quality, lacked controls and did not have oversight by an ethics review board.
“That is not how science works,” said Dr. Leah Torres, an OB-GYN and reproductive rights activist. “That’s not how you should practice medicine.”
Torres said progesterone is relatively benign but has not been studied for its effect on drug-induced abortions.
“They need to be able to answer the questions of: ‘What are the risks of stopping a medical abortion? What are the risks to the baby? What are the risks to the mom?” she explained.
The measure has earned support from groups opposing abortion, which say it would ensure that women have all the available information before making a decision about their pregnancy.
One such organization is Pro-Life Utah, which also backed the fetal anesthesia bill last year.
“You just can’t make a real true choice if you don’t have all the facts in front of you,” said the group’s president, Mary Taylor, who said she has lived with a lifetime of regret over her abortion 35 years ago.
“Part of the problem for me, with that decision, was the information I had when I made the choice,” she added.
Stratton, one of the lawmakers working on the measure, said he plans to speak with the medical community about the bill while he drafts it.
But he called the issue “fairly straightforward.”
“If you’re pro-choice, I would say that it helps you be educated in making the choice,” he said. “If you’re pro-life, it gives an opportunity to look at the options if a decision is made to reverse course.”
Information from: Deseret News, https://www.deseretnews.com
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