By DARCY COSTELLO,
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana House panel clashed Wednesday over the
science behind a disputed method to purportedly stop drug-induced abortions,
then narrowly approved a requirement for women to receive information about
it before undergoing the procedure.
author of the bill, Republican Rep. Ron Bacon, contends informing women
about the method could give them a chance to change their minds and save the
baby. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, however, has
stated the so-called abortion reversal procedure is not scientifically
proven to work and opponents argue the method hasn't been sufficiently
can't say it's going to work, we can't prove that," Bacon said. "She'll at
least get that opportunity. It's a chance."
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challenged in court and later repealed by the Legislature.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 would require the State Health Department to create a form
directing pregnant women toward more information on the potential to stop
their drug-induced abortion midway through the procedure.
Advocates of the approach, particularly the Abortion Pill Reversal group,
say they've seen success "reversing" the procedure when doctors administer
progesterone after a woman has taken the first of two medications needed to
complete the drug-induced abortion. They cite a 2012 case report in which
four of six women successfully carried their pregnancies to term after this
procedure and say an upcoming report will describe 300 successful cases.
has stated that claims about "abortion reversals" aren't supported by
scientific evidence and that available research seems to indicate when a
woman takes the first pill and then changes her mind, doing nothing is just
as effective as intervening with the hormone progesterone.
Opponents who flag the method's vetting say it would be irresponsible to
share the information with women without further evidence. A scientific
trial would require a larger sample size, a comparator such as a placebo,
additional oversight and the ability to be reproduced, doctors who testified
at a hearing last week said.
entire bill is built on a premise that is not grounded in clinical science,"
said Patti Stauffer, the vice-president of public policy at Planned
Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky. "It does nothing to promote women's
health and it does not move us forward proactively on tackling the issue of
amendment from Democratic Rep. Terri Austin approved by the panel adds a
disclaimer to the information provided to women that "no scientifically
validated medical study confirms that an abortion may be reversed after
taking abortion-inducing drugs." It also directs them to ACOG for further
The additional information gives women a "full menu of choices" to enable an
informed decision, Austin said, adding the Legislature should not advance
medical practices or theories.
"It's not our role to codify it as a legislator and put this in statute and
say to women, 'We're going to give you this advocacy group or theory's
information, but we're not going to balance it out and make sure that you
understand,'" Austin said. "All the time we tell people to get a second
opinion — get a second opinion, that's what I'm trying to make sure of."
Bacon's proposal advanced out of the panel on a 7-6 vote and now awaits a
House floor vote.
Austin ultimately voted against the measure, citing concerns over a
provision requiring an ultrasound to ascertain the post-fertilization age of
the fetus. She was joined by the Democrats on the panel, as well as
Republican Reps. Edward Clere and Sean Eberhart.
Other approved amendments on the bill codify information abortion providers
must send to the state health department, require clinics to receive sex
trafficking training and develop a reporting procedure to track patients who
suffer complications from abortion procedures.
Bacon's measure is among the only proposed abortion measures to be
considered by a panel so far this session. Anti-abortion activists have been
pressuring lawmakers to consider the issue through visits to the Statehouse
and social media campaigns.