Columbus — Representatives Kyle Koehler and Sarah Fowler Arthur have announced that they have introduced a bill to force doctors to lie to patients, potentially putting people’s health in danger, specifically about medicines anti-abortion organizations claim interrupt the abortion process. This bill is similar to one introduced last session by former Senator Peggy Lehner, Senate Bill 155. So-called abortion reversal ideas are founded in lies about how medication abortion works and an attempt to spread more misinformation about abortion care. This false information should never be allowed to be written into state law.

A note on language: “abortion reversal” is not a medical term, and scientific research into this concept is non-existent. This bill is suggesting forcing medical professionals to give information about an unproven, and potentially dangerous protocol to interrupt a two-drug regimen for medication abortion to their patients.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said: “Abortion opponents in Ohio are continuing their efforts to stigmatize abortion with medically-inaccurate information and unproven, potentially dangerous, practices. Abortion providers rely on scientifically accurate and thoroughly researched protocols to support patients before, during, and after an abortion. Rep. Koehler and Fowler Arthur are trying to mislead patients and discredit abortion providers. Patients need medically accurate information, not scripts dictated by politicians filled with deception and ideologically-driven claims.”

The idea of using progesterone to interrupt a medication abortion was unproven last session when this bill was introduced, and now there is even more evidence showing that this protocol could pose a danger to patients. Medication abortion with mifepristone is a combination of two medications – and we know it is a safe and effective way of ending an early pregnancy, based rigorous scientific research and almost 20 years of use in this country.

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Additional background, from NPR:

Researchers from the University of California, Davis, were investigating claims that the hormone progesterone can stop a medication-based abortion after a patient has completed the first part of the two-step process.

For the study, the researchers aimed to enroll 40 women who were scheduled to have surgical abortions. Before their surgical procedures, the women received mifepristone, the first pill in the two-medication regimen that’s used for medical abortions. The women were then randomly assigned to receive either a placebo or progesterone, which advocates claim can block the effects of mifepristone.

But researchers stopped the study in July, 2019, after only 12 women had enrolled. Three of the women required ambulance transport to a hospital for treatment of severe vaginal bleeding. The researchers decided the risk to women of participation was too great to continue with the study. The study was unable to show what, if any, effectiveness progesterone has in reversing a medical abortion.

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