AZ anti-choice legislators actually think you can reverse an abortion


Crossposted from

pill cartoon

SB1318 was already bad enough. The anti-choice bill would bar any insurance exchange operating in the state (including the ACA) from covering abortion even if the woman purchased a separate rider, on the theory that money out of a woman’s own damn pocket that she earned herself is somehow “taxpayer dollars”. It also mandates that abortion doctors report to the state health director that they have admitting privileges at a local hospital, a requirement that opponents say could expose personal information about doctors to dangerous anti-choice zealots. But they weren’t done. Now there’s this amendment.

I’ll let the excellent Robin Marty give you the gist of it:

The Arizona legislature took an unprecedented step Tuesday during a late night hearing, amending a bill that would block abortion coverage in insurance plans purchased through the Affordable Care Act and inserting a new rule requiring that abortion providers inform patients that the procedure could in fact be reversed—despite no substantiated medical evidence to support that charge…

…with the addition of an amendment by Republican Rep. Kelly Townsend, the bill now would require that as part of the so-called “informed consent” material offered prior to an abortion, the doctor must tell the patient that in the case of a medical abortion, “It may be possible to reverse the effects of a medication abortion if the woman changes her mind, but that time is of the essence.”

The doctor would also tell the patient that “information on and assistance with reversing the effects of a medication abortion is available on the Department of Health’s website.”

Earlier this afternoon, I found myself trying to explain the “abortion reversal” concept to my incredulous boyfriend and found it difficult to do so because, like so many anti-choice myths and obsessions, it’s fantasy-based, but here goes: Medication abortion is a two-pill process in which a patient takes mifepristone first, followed by misoprostol several hours later. Some anti-choicers are now claiming to have successfully reversed medication abortions by persuading women who have taken the first pill – after which they immediately stumbled into a Crisis Pregnancy center, I guess – to not take the second one. The mifepristone is supposedly counteracted by having a doctor administer a large dose of progesterone* to the woman and then, voila, the pregnancy is saved! If that sounds at all plausible to you remember that we are talking about anti-choicers here. Here’s what actual medical professionals have to say about “abortion reversal”:

“There’s no evidence of any demonstrable effect of the ‘treatment’ these anti-abortion centers are marketing,” Dr. Cheryl Chastine, a provider at South Wind Women’s Center in Wichita, Kansas, said. “The medical literature is quite clear that mifepristone on its own is only about 50 percent effective at ending a pregnancy. That means that even if these doctors were to offer a large dose of purple Skittles, they’d appear to have ‘worked’ to ‘save’ the pregnancy about half the time. Those numbers are consistent with what these people are reporting.”

Dr. Chastine isn’t alone in her assessment. Dr. Dan Grossman, vice president for research at Ibis Reproductive Health, told Iowa Public Radio that the “treatment” was unlikely to be doing anything at all.

“[The abortion pill] binds much more tightly to the progesterone receptor, to block it than progesterone itself does,” Grossman told reporter Sarah Boden. “So there really is not much evidence to indicate, I’m really not aware of anything, that by increasing the amount of progesterone you’re gonna somehow block the effect of this drug.” He then added, “I think this is really outside of standard of care to just begin doing this kind of treatment, without collecting more rigorous studies about its effectiveness.”

If this “abortion reversal” nonsense isn’t enough to convince you that all the posturing that anti-choicers do about “safety” is a pile of unmitigated horseshit, I don’t know what it will take. I’m sure I’ll have more on #SB1318 when I get a chance to watch the Federalism Committee from Wednesday morning.

*By any doctor, in an ER or clinic or office or wherever. Since it’s an “abortion reversal” all the demands put on abortion doctors (admitting privileges and whatnot) are magically unnecessary. How convenient.


  1. Thanks for this excellent article … I was there in person and was very proud of Democratic Representatives Wheeler and Loredo … there were fireworks as they stood up against this ludicrous bill.
    Leonard Clark

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