"Abortion Reversal" Bill To Appear In Legislative Session

Nov 29, 2016

A Utah lawmaker is proposing a bill that would require doctors to tell women seeking abortions about a possible way to stop the procedure part way through. 

The so-called “abortion reversal” bill would focus on medically induced abortions. That’s when a woman takes two rounds of medications -- first mifepristone then misoprostol -- in order to terminate a pregnancy. In the proposed bill, doctors would be required to tell women that their abortion may be reversible if they change their mind after taking the first round of drugs.

Republican Representative Keven Stratton is the author of the bill.

"The genesis of the legislation is to help those that are considering terminating the pregnancy help them to understand that there is a potential option to reverse," Stratton says. 

That “reversal” is based on the work of George Delgado, a California doctor who helped six women stop their abortions by giving them another drug – progesterone. Of the six, four resulted in healthy births.

But critics say six individual cases do not constitute a scientific study and that could put women at even greater risk.

Dr. Leah Torres is an OB/GYN in West Valley.

"This bill is not supported by any scientific data," Torres says. 

Torres says the legislation would force doctors to offer an unknown procedure to their patients.  

"To use something that is not scientifically based, that is not a standard of practice on patients, is unethical any way you slice it," says Torres. 

Similar laws exist in South Dakota and Arkansas, but Delgado’s work has been criticized by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Guttmacher Institute, and in academic journals.

In spite of this criticism, Stratton says it’s important for patients to know about the option.

"Good policy, would say, let’s make all the information available that’s there," Stratton says. 

Lawmakers will likely consider the bill in the general session beginning early next year.