Abortion pill ‘reversals’ debated in Ohio as Toledo clinic halts surgeries to end pregnancies – The Columbus Dispatch

Posted: September 20, 2019 at 2:44 am

Despite critics' claims of junk science, the Republican-led Ohio Senate held its first hearing Wednesday on a bill that would require doctors who provide medication for an abortion to tell their patients that the procedure could be reversed.

The proposal, under consideration by the Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee, is controversial because many medical expertssay the claim is false and not supported by science.

The legislative debate cameabout the same time that news broke that Toledo had become one of the largest cities in the nation without a clinic providing surgical abortions; its sole remaining facility surrendered its license for such procedures to the state on Sept. 10. Ohio Department of Health spokesman Russ Kennedy said Capital Care Network of Toledo's new owners decided to perform only chemically induced abortions.

Senate Bill 155, sponsored by Sen. Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering, would mandate that at least 24 hours before prescribing medication to terminate a pregnancy, doctors provide women with information stating that it may be possible to reverse the intended effects of a mifepristone abortion if she changes her mind, but time is of the essence.

Doctors who fail to give patients such information would face a first-degree criminal misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and a fine of $1,000. Subsequent violations would be fourth-degree felonies with the possibility of an 18-month sentence.

In testimony Wednesday, Lehner told committee members that she wants toensure that women have true choice.

This legislation is intended to give another choice to women who are in desperate situations. We are not forcing anyone to take the abortion-pill reversal treatment we simply want to give women more information on another option available to them, Lehner said.

Sen. Cecil Thomas, D-Cincinnati, said the bill would require doctors to give patients untested information.

Wouldnt it be wise to wait until the Food and Drug Administration had proved (the medication) for abortion reversal? he asked Lehner.

Lehner said it has been successfully used for years to prevent women from having miscarriages.I dont know what there is to wait for," she said.

If there is something that can help a woman who has changed her mind not live with the regret that she would have if she proceeded with the abortion, (it) is something that ought to be available to her.

Eight other states have passed similar laws. Last week, a federal judge blocked North Dakotas law, finding that assertions that abortions could be reversed were unproven and that the state should not require doctors to give patients misleading and inaccurate information. Arizona lawmakers repealed a state law earlier this year after it was challenged in court.

Both the American Medical Association, which was a plaintiff in the North Dakota lawsuit, and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology have disputed claims that the effects of an abortion pill can be reversed.

Jamie Miracle, deputy director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said such laws require physicians to provide patients with medically inaccurate information at best, and potentially harmful information at worse.

Medication abortions are generally an option for women in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. Of the nearly 21,000 abortions performed in Ohio in 2017, the most recent data available from the health department, more than a quarter involved medicine; nearly all used mifepristone.

Typically, a woman is given two drugs: She first takes mifepristone to block the progesterone hormone that helps maintain pregnancy, followed some hours later by misoprostol, which makes the uterus contract and expel the embryo to complete the abortion.

Backers ofabortion reversal contend that the medication-based procedure could be reversed if a woman has not taken the second pill and she is given progesterone to counter the effects of mifepristone.

Lehner cited a 2018 study by Dr. George Delgado finding that high doses of progesterone successfully reversed abortions in 64% to 68% of cases without increased risk of birth defects. Critics have discounted the finding, saying the analysis was not scientific and did not use a control group for comparison.

Meanwhile, abortion-rights opponents celebrated developments in Toledo.

"No more babies will be torn apart within their mother's womb here in Toledo," said Ed Sitter, executive director of Greater Toledo Right to Life.

Stephanie Ranade Krider, vice president of Ohio Right to Life, said, "This clinic has acted in a reckless and above-the-law manner, putting women's health and safety at risk for years. ... While this facility will undoubtedly continue to profit off of women seeking chemical abortions, with over 1,300 abortions in Lucas County in 2017, the loss of their surgical license will save many lives."

Kellie Copeland, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio's executive director, said, "These changes are happening as a natural part of running a health-care facility and unrelated to any politically motivated actions from the state legislature or administration."

ccandisky@dispatch.com

@ccandisky

drowland@dispatch.com

@darreldrowland

Link:
Abortion pill 'reversals' debated in Ohio as Toledo clinic halts surgeries to end pregnancies - The Columbus Dispatch

Related Post

Comments are closed.

Archives