Ohio Senate Passes Bill Requiring Physicians to Tell Patients Chemical Abortions are Reversible

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STATE. SEN. PEGGY LEHNER, R-KETTERING OHIO SENATE
  • State. Sen. Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering OHIO SENATE
The Ohio Senate yestesrday approved a bill that would require physicians to tell patients that chemical abortions are potentially reversible.

Some pro-choice groups and medical professionals have cried foul about the bill, however, saying it forces doctors to give patients misleading and incorrect information.

Senate Bill 155 requires doctors who prescribe chemical abortions — a series of two pills that can end a pregnancy within its first weeks — to share written information with patients about an experimental method that some say reverses those abortions.

The bill's sponsor, Republican State Sen. Peggy Lehner, says the proposed law is about equipping patients with information.



"Women who decide to take their babies to term should be celebrated and supported," said Lehner in a statement today. "This bill simply gives women more information about the option for a second chance to make an extremely emotional and difficult decision."

But pro-choice groups and some medical associations say claims about the reversibility of the process are misleading.

“Senate Bill 155 will force physicians to spread unproven and dangerous information to pregnant patients that have turned to them for their medical expertise," Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio Vice President of Government Affairs Lauren Blauvelt-Copelin said in a statement today. "Legislators should never mandate that health care providers give their patients inaccurate information about an unproven treatment."

During a chemical pregnancy, a patient first takes Mifepristone, a medication that blocks the production of vital pregnancy hormone progesterone. Then, shortly afterward, the patient takes Misoprostol, which causes contractions of the uterus.

If a patient takes the first pill but not the second, there is a 50 percent chance their pregnancy will end, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says.

The law also wants physicians to advise women to take progesterone to increase the chances their pregnancy will be viable after the first pill — something that critics say isn't proven to work.

The American Medical Association and the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists have opposed similar bills on those grounds, and some physicians testified before lawmakers this week that the idea of reversing a chemical abortion as described in the bill was inadvisable.

The AMA sued North Dakota over a similar law in July this year, saying that it "forces physicians to tell their patients that medication abortions may be reversible, a claim wholly unsupported by the best, most reliable scientific evidence."

If the Ohio House passes the bill and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signs it, physicians would face misdemeanor charges the first time they fail to discuss the reversal procedure with a patient. Subsequent failures to do so would result in felony charges with a penalty of up to 180 days in prison.

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