INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana lawmakers are considering a bill that would require a woman to be informed she could stop a drug-induced abortion midway through the procedure and continue with her pregnancy.
Despite disagreement over whether the so-called abortion reversal procedure has been sufficiently vetted or scientifically proven to work, proponents say women should be made aware that it’s an option before taking the second of two abortion-inducing drugs that are taken within a few days of each other. Anti-abortion activists pushing the bill say the process can be halted even after a woman takes the first drug if she is given the hormone progesterone.
Opponents say the approach is unfounded and that informing a patient about an unproven treatment is irresponsible.
Republican Rep. Ron Bacon’s bill is among the first proposed abortion measures to get a committee hearing this session. His amended proposal would require the State Health Department to create a form to help point pregnant women toward more information on the potential to stop their abortion.
Though it was held in committee for a vote next week, Bacon said he believes testimony from supporters proved there was no reason not to inform women of the potential method, even if it isn’t guaranteed.
“There’s no perfect science,” Bacon said. “To say this is perfect — no, we never said that. We said that we have a chance.”
Advocates of the approach, particularly the Abortion Pill Reversal organization, say they’ve seen success when doctors administer progesterone after a woman has taken the first of two medications needed to complete the medication procedure. They cite a 2012 case report in which four of six women successfully carried their pregnancies to term after going through this procedure and say an upcoming report will describe 300 successful cases.
Doctors who oppose the measure testified Wednesday that a scientific trial would require a larger sample size and a comparator, such as a placebo, to determine if there is a benefit to the treatment. To approve a new standard of practice, such a trial would need to be reproducible and have oversight.
“I am deeply committed to making sure that the options we are giving women are safe and effective,” said Brownsyne Tucker Edmonds. “Real trials, real numbers make that determination.”
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has stated that claims about “abortion reversals” aren’t supported by scientific evidence. Available research seems to indicate that when a woman takes the first pill and then changes her mind, “doing nothing and waiting to see what happens is just as effective as intervening with a course of progesterone,” they wrote in a fact sheet on the subject.
An Arizona law that required doctors to inform women of the potential ability of qualified medical professionals to “reverse a medication abortion” was challenged in court and later repealed by the Legislature. At least two states have passed similar laws.
Indiana’s measure also includes several approved amendments addressing other areas of abortion law, including codifying the information abortion providers send to the state health department and requiring clinics to receive sex trafficking training. An amendment that has yet to be voted on would require reports on patients who suffer complications from abortion procedures.
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