Utah adopts informed consent law for medication abortions
The new law requires abortionists to inform women of "the options and consequences" of stopping a medication-induced abortion and will change state-printed information on abortion to tell women that mifepristone, the first of two drugs taken to end pregnancy, doesn't always work.
"If you have taken mifepristone but have not yet taken the second drug and have questions regarding the health of your fetus or are questioning your decision to terminate your pregnancy, you should consult a physician immediately," the new literature will say.
Peer-reviewed scientific research shows evidence for the success of abortion-reversal with progesterone, the pregnancy-sustaining hormone blocked by mifepristone, said Pro-Life Utah President Mary Taylor, who noted an as-yet unpublished study. Right now abortionists don't have to tell women about that procedure, but the law immediately will prevent abortionists from telling women false information about the medical abortion procedure.
"Women are being told in abortion clinics that once they take the first pill they must take the second pill or risk a deformed baby. That's not true," Taylor said.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reported in 2015 that mifepristone doesn't cause birth defects, and that without the second drug, misoprostol, pregnancy continues in 30-50 percent of cases.
George Delgado, medical director of Culture of Life Family Services and founder of abortionpillreversal.com, has been working to promote abortion reversal procedures that he claims can improve pregnancy success after taking mifepristone by 15 percent.
When Colorado's legislature was considering an abortion reversal bill in January, Delgado testified that his organization has helped 250 mothers bring their babies to term with its reversal process. Another 100 mothers are still pregnant after the treatment but haven't yet given birth.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says current medical evidence for abortion reversal is too limited to be universally accepted by the medical community, but Taylor hopes the unpublished study she said Delgado produced will change that. The priority should be giving women accurate information about drug-induced abortion, she said.
"It's already pretty sad that someone would not give a woman that information," Taylor said. "When women make the choice of an abortion, it's often under very stressful circumstances, and regret is a very common thing for women to go through. And if someone wants to deny a woman the chance to change her mind on that, I just think that's cruel."
Three other states have passed laws to make abortionists inform women of the abortion reversal procedure. Arkansas and South Dakota still have their law on the books, but Arizona repealed its law after a court battle with Planned Parenthood, which argued the law violated First Amendment rights.
Indiana and North Carolina are considering abortion reversal bills, while Colorado's legislature killed the proposed legislation in January.
Taylor said she doesn't expect a legal challenge to Utah's law, since it doesn't endorse any particular group or procedure: "Informed consent laws tend to hold up pretty well, and that's what this is."