‘Abortion-reversal’ bill heads to Gov. Otter’s desk

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A bill to inform women in Idaho considering an abortion about a medically unproven procedure is just one step away from becoming law.

The Idaho House passed SB 1243, a so-called ‘abortion reversal’ bill on a straight 55-11 party-line vote Monday.

Having cleared the Senate on a party-line 29-6 vote earlier, the bill now goes to Gov. Butch Otter for his consideration.

The bill would add information to Idaho’s informed consent packets about how to reverse a medical abortion after taking the first of two pills. The bill would also direct patients where to get more information on the procedure which calls for treatment of a hormone called progesterone to counteract the first pill.

The reversal procedure’s efficiency and safety have been called into question by doctors and lawmakers, but supporters argue that women should be given information about all possible options when considering an abortion.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists stated in 2015 that “doing nothing and waiting to see what happens is just as effective as intervening with a course of progesterone.”

SB 1243’s House floor sponsor, Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt, said that the time between taking the first pill and the second, which she estimates is 72 hours, is a critical time.

“The reality here is that women may change their mind,” she said. “They may be unaware of the existence currently of this protocol which could possibly provide them the opportunity to reverse the effects of that first pill.

“This is about empowering women through information so she can make that choice,” DeMordaunt said.

Floor debate was passionate.

“Life is precious and we should know that. All of us are here because our mother gave us life and made a decisions that was so important to us, to allow us to be here to talk about this important opportunity,” said Rep. Barbara Ehardt, a Republican from Idaho Falls. “Please vote life.”

Democrats argued that the state should not be passing on information about a medically unproven procedure.

“I can’t imagine us legitimately trying to pass a law that provides information that could be misleading and damage someone’s health. Abortions in this country are legal, they’re one of the safest procedures we can have. It’s a .05 percent risk, and a medication abortion in particular is very safe,” said Rep. Melissa Wintrow, a Democrat from Boise.

If SB 1243 receives the governor’s approval, Idaho would join states like Utah, Arkansas and South Dakota with similar laws.

Arizona had adopted a similar law in 2015, but it was repealed in 2016 following a lawsuit because it required doctors to tell patients about the procedure, according to the Arizona Central.

– Kyle Pfannenstiel covers the 2018 Idaho Legislature for the University of Idaho McClure Center for Public Policy Research.

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