by Stephanie Serafino
On March 28, 2017, Rewire News published a satisfying article of the halting of Indiana House Bill 1128. This bill would require doctors, providing medication abortions, to acknowledge patients about “reversing” their abortion and giving them names of “medical who can aid with the possible reversal of an abortion obtained through an abortion inducing drug”. Wow, the ability to reverse an abortion any time a woman wants! (the bill causally omits a timeframe for optimal “abortion reversal”) Regardless of religious beliefs or political views, this has to send off some alarms, and it should.
The bill additionally requires patients to provide a signature acknowledging that have received the following clarification, “No scientifically validated medical study confirms that an abortion may be reversed after taking abortion inducing drugs”. Explicitly contradicting itself and the bill states that there is NO scientific or evidence-based findings for this absurd, proposed requirement to women’s healthcare.
As Rewire reported, the bill will not be voted next month, not due to lack of support, but because of lack of time for a proper hearing before the April 12 deadline, the final day to pass a house bill in Indiana. However, there are other states, such as California, Georgia and North Carolina, who are currently introducing similar language into state legislation. While, Arkansas (HB 1578), Arizona (SB1318), South Dakota (HB 1157) and Utah (HB 414) have already passed bills that now require medical providers to give “reversal” information to their patients.
Women in Indiana know all too well how state-level restrictions limit their access to quality women’s healthcare, thanks to no other than our new VP and former Indiana Governor, Mike Pence. As Governor, Vice-President Pence openly spoke out against Planned Parenthood as well as signing anti-abortion laws into action that banned abortions due to fetal abnormalities and required that all product of pregnancies that end in abortion or miscarriage be buried or cremated, which burdens clinics and patients with unnecessarily increased costs. The “reversal” requirement may not be so surprising in a hostile state like Indiana, but with so many other states jumping on board, you have to ask, where is this unfounded thinking coming?
And that would be a group called, Americans United for Life (AUL), who have privileged themselves with developing an anti-abortion Model Legislation & Policy Guide. Language found here is almost identical to what is being written into law in the states mentioned above. The guide bases the “abortion reversal” requirement on a “peer-reviewed research study” that they forgot to mention the title, publication, author or where it could be found. It is likely the mentioned study is that of George Delgado in 2012, which is later referenced in the guide. In 2012, Delgado published case reports of 6 women who received progesterone following a dose of mifepristone (aka the medication abortion drug), he claims 4 of the women went on to carry to full term. This by all means is not a well-formed research study and is not proof of any revolutionary medical discovery when it comes to an abortion procedure. There have been no follow ups to this publication, not by George Delgado himself, or any physician hoping for the same outcome. Another reference is supplied, directing readers to a testimony of a doctor from Arizona who testified in support of the “abortion reversal” procedure, however if you follow the reference link provided in the guide -- this testimony cannot be found.
It is increasingly alarming that state leaders appear to be easily persuaded by a document that has little to no factual backing, especially when the statistics recognized in the AUL guide are convenient at most and therefore do not representing the whole truth of women’s health. It is equally upsetting that this requirement is implicating that a woman's choice for her own body is only made valid when there is an option for her to change her mind after the fact.