‘Abortion reversal’ bill to be heard

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An Idaho Senate panel voted Jan. 29 to introduce a bill modifying Idaho’s abortion informed consent statutes to include information about reversals of medical abortions.

The bill, from Sen. Lori Den Hartog, would direct the Department of Health and Welfare to modify the Fetal Development packet it distributes to physicians offering abortions to include information about the reversal procedure.

The procedure, which is not supported by published scientific data, would only potentially work for those who take the first of two pills and want to halt the abortion to have a regular pregnancy. Rates of its effectiveness have been questioned by legislators and professionals.

Den Hartog’s bill has nearly identical language to one she sponsored late last session, which was approved to be printed but never received another hearing.

“Maybe there’s some new research that has taken place,” Assistant Majority Leader Cherie Buckner-Webb said referencing last year’s bill, “but there’s no scientific data, according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, to say that this was effective.”

The reversal procedure calls for treatment of a sex hormone, progesterone, which has been the subject of research since at least the early 2010s. In 2015, American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists said research indicated “doing nothing and waiting to see what happens is just as effective as intervening with a course of progesterone.”

Den Hartog said she consulted with a national organization called the Abortion Pill Reversal. The organization’s website claims 55 percent of patients who undergo the procedure deliver healthy babies, but they offer no methodology.

Both Democrats on the committee, Majority Leader Michelle Stennett and Sen. Buckner-Webb, asked to be recorded as no votes.

The bill needs to be heard at a public hearing and be passed by the committee before moving to the full Senate for consideration.

Kyle Pfannenstiel covers the 2018 Idaho Legislature for the University of Idaho McClure Center for Public Policy Research.

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