House Bill 378 would force doctors to lie to patients

Columbus — Today, the Ohio House Committee on Health held a first hearing on House Bill 378, a bill to force doctors to lie to patients and potentially putting their patients’ health in danger. Representatives Kyle Koehler and Sarah Fowler Arthur’s legislation perpetuates false claims that progesterone could halt a medication abortion after it has already begun. The only placebo control clinical study into this idea was stopped because trial participants suffered harmful side effects and it was determined it was too unsafe to continue the research.

A note on language: The unproven concept being promoted in this bill is not an “abortion reversal.” Stopping a procedure mid-way through the process is not the same as reversing it. “Reversal” is not a medical term used by medical professionals or the AP Stylebook. We ask media to refrain from repeating this false claim.

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, and potentially dangerous practices. Abortion providers rely on scientifically-accurate and thoroughly researched protocols to support patients before, during, and after an abortion. Reps. 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, additionally, there is evidence showing that this protocol could pose a serious danger to patients. Medication abortion is induced with a combination of two medications – and we know it is a safe and effective way of ending a pregnancy through 10 weeks, based rigorous scientific research and over 20 years of use in this country.

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.