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Utah Gov. Signs Bill That Says Medical Abortion Can Be Reversed Mid-Course

March 28, 2017

While Indiana lawmakers paused similar legislation

Utah moved forward with a controversial ‘abortion reversal’ bill, which would require doctors to give women information that a prominent medical group disputes.

The bill concerns medical abortions, for which women take the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol to block progesterone and induce uterine contractions to expel the fetal tissue. Utah Governor Gary Herbert, a Republican, signed a bill this weekend that requires doctors to tell women that those abortions can be reversed halfway through the procedure by ingesting progesterone, the Huffington Post reports.

However, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) said in a statement that those claims “are not supported by the body of scientific evidence, and this approach is not recommended in ACOG’s clinical guidance on medication abortion.” ACOG added that progesterone is “generally well tolerated [but] can cause significant cardiovascular, nervous system and endocrine adverse reactions as well as other side effects.”

Republican State Rep. Keven Stratton, who co-sponsored the legislation, told the Deseret News that the aim of the bill was to provide information to women. “If you’re pro-choice, I would say that it helps you be educated in making the choice,” Stratton told the Deseret News. “If you’re pro-life, it gives an opportunity to look at the options if a decision is made to reverse course.”

Meanwhile, in Indiana, a similar bill narrowly passed the state House of Representatives. But Republican State Sen. Rodric Bray announced Monday he would not hold a hearing on the bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee. “At this point, the only certainty is confusion,” Republican State Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer said during House debate the bill, according to the Associated Press. “I do not believe forcing medical professionals to provide medical advice on something that is not proven and incomplete is by any means the right thing to do.”

Arizona, South Dakota and Arkansas have previously passed similar bills. But Arizona lawmakers ultimately repealed the law after it was challenged in court.