Health

New Arizona Law: Doctors Must Tell Women It’s Possible To Reverse Abortion

| by Michael Allen
Gov. Doug Ducey.Gov. Doug Ducey.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill, SB 1318, on March 30 that requires doctors to tell women that medication-induced abortions may possibly be reversed.

The bill also bans health insurance companies from covering abortion when women buy health insurance through the federal health care exchange website, except in cases of rape and incest, noted The Arizona Republic.

The notion of abortion reversals after a woman takes an abortion pill, such as mifepristone (RU-486) or misoprostol, lacks medical proof.

“In the absence of any evidence, it’s foolhardy for the state to be telling women this information,” Dr. Eric Reuss, treasurer of the Arizona Section of the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology, told the Arizona Sonora News Service.

Dr. Allan Sawyer, past president of the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, claimed he reversed an abortion by injecting a woman with progesterone after she took RU-486.

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National Right To Life News ran a headline last month, "Pro-Life Doctor Succeeds in Reversing Abortion Pill," and reported on Dr. George Delgado, who claimed to have reversed the effects of RU-486 with progesterone.

The FDA doesn't recommend this off-label use for progesterone.

Dr. Ilana Addis, chairwoman of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists chapter in Arizona, told the Arizona Sonora News Service that using progesterone to reverse abortions works "about as well as placebo."

RU-486 stops the hormone progesterone, which is required for a successful for pregnancy. Misoprostol makes woman's uterus contract in a similar fashion as a miscarriage.

Before a progesterone injection is given, a fetal heartbeat has to be detected with an ultrasound, which means the medication abortion failed and the fetus would have lived without the progesterone injection, reports Talking Points Memo.

“We’ve come to find out that there is an option when women have taken RU-486 and then they have changed their mind and there’s a plan and a way for physicians to help reverse their decision if they act quickly,” Arizona State Sen. Nancy Barto, a Republican who sponsored the bill, told Arizona Sonora News Service.

Republican Arizona State Rep. Kelly Townsend added, "I think that women are intelligent enough to know that it has been used in the past successfully and there is nothing guaranteeing them that it is going to work. The potential for success exists and they deserve to know that."

"There's no evidence of any demonstrable effect of the ‘treatment’ these anti-abortion centers are marketing," Dr. Cheryl Chastine, of the South Wind Women’s Center in Wichita, Kansas, told Talking Points Memo.

Dr. Dan Grossman, vice president for research at Ibis Reproductive Health, told Iowa Public Radio:

"(An abortion pill) binds much more tightly to the progesterone receptor, to block it than progesterone itself does. So there really is not much evidence to indicate, I'm really not aware of anything, that by increasing the amount of progesterone you’re gonna somehow block the effect of this drug."

Sources: The Arizona Republic, Arizona Sonora News Service, Iowa Public Radio, Talking Points Memo, National Right To Life News
Image Credit: Gage Skidmore