North Dakota’s sole abortion clinic, located in Fargo, is filing a lawsuit against two state laws that it claims force doctors to present false information, and is asking a judge to block the laws’ enforcement.
The complaint is from the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of the American Medical Association, the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, and the clinic’s medical director, Dr. Kathryn Eggleston.
The lawsuit alleges that two state laws, set to go into effect Aug. 1, force doctors to “lie”: one requires doctors to affirm that an unborn baby is a “unique, living human being,” and the other requires doctors to inform patients that reversals of medication abortions are possible.
Medication abortions have become an increasingly common method of abortion in the United States, making up 30-40 percent of all abortions.
North Dakota State Rep. Daniel Johnston said he sponsored the bill so that “women having second thoughts” about going through with a medication abortion know they have options, according to the Associated Press.
The AP reports that Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Utah have passed similar laws that require patients to be informed about medication abortion reversal.
The lawsuit asserts that there is no “credible, scientific evidence” that a medication abortion can be reversed.
Medical abortions involve the taking of two pills - the first pill, mifepristone (RU-486) blocks the progesterone hormone, which is essential for maintaining the health of the baby. The second pill, misoprostol, is taken 24 hours after mifepristone and works to induce contractions in order to expel the baby. Some women, after taking the first pill (mifepristone), experience regret and do not want to follow through with the abortion by taking misoprostol.
A study published last year in Issues in Law and Medicine, a peer-reviewed medical journal affiliated with the pro-life organization Watson Bowes Research Institute, examined 261 successful abortion pill reversals, and showed that the reversal success rates were 68 percent with a high-dose oral progesterone protocol and 64 percent with an injected progesterone protocol.
Dr. Mary Davenport and Dr. George Delgado, who have been studying the abortion pill reversal procedures since 2009, authored the study. Delgado sits on the board of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and co-founded the Abortion Pill Rescue Network, a coalition of 800 medical providers across the country.
“When I learned about the work of Dr. George Delgado...I jumped right on that. I felt we needed to educate women that they had a choice,” Tammy Taylor, a nurse practitioner at Guiding Star, a women’s health care clinic in Tampa, told Pregnancy Help News this month.
Taylor’s Tampa clinic has provided 15 women so far with abortion pill reversals, some of whom have traveled up to two hours for the procedure, Pregnancy Help News reports.
The director of a women’s clinic in Denver told CNA in April 2018 that she has found the abortion pill reversal protocol to be safe and effective with her patients, and her clinic has successfully treated several women who come in seeking a reversal after taking the first pill.
“I think the fact that we have now over 300 successful reversals is evidence that it works,” nurse practitioner Dede Chism, co-founder and executive director of Bella Natural Women’s Care in Englewood, CO, told CNA at the time.
“This isn’t make-believe and it isn’t coincidental.”
Delgado told the Washington Post that he believed more research should be done on abortion pill reversal, but that he believes there should be nothing to stop doctors from using the progesterone protocol in the meantime.
“(T)he science is good enough that, since we have no alternative therapy and we know it's safe, we should go with it,” he said.
The pro-life group Heartbeat International has documented numerous cases of successful abortion pill reversals resulting in healthy babies being born. A recent report from Pregnancy Help News, a service of Heartbeat International, said 750 babies have been saved in this manner.
The AMA also took issue with a law that requires physicians to tell patients that abortion terminates “the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being,” a statement that the AMA deemed a “controversial, ideological, and non-medical message.”
North Dakota’s governor signed into law in April a bill that outlaws the common abortion procedure known as “dilation and evacuation,” also known as “dismemberment abortion.”