Politics & Policy

Arizona Respects Women

A new law allows women to make informed decisions about abortion.

With the signing of Arizona’s historic informed-consent legislation (SB-1318), pro-life advocates note a new development in the burgeoning trend of states respecting women by giving them accurate medical information on the effect of abortion on their health and welfare. Meanwhile, the abortion lobby continues to fight for a paternalistic model, with women denied the full story of abortion’s potentially deadly impacts on women.

Arizona’s SB-1318 includes a straightforward informed-consent provision much like those in effect in 32 other states, but with one key addition: It specifically addresses chemically induced abortion — and that addition has the abortion industry up in arms.

Chemically induced abortions are on the rise. Today, one of every four abortions is drug-induced, compared to only 6 percent in 2001. As such, abortion drugs represent the growth sector of the abortion industry. As Planned Parenthood and other providers increasingly tie their profits to distribution of life-ending drugs, they will stop at nothing to oppose legislation that aims to respectfully provide access to information that could affect a woman’s decision.

Thus, legislation like SB-1318 reveals the true colors of each side in the abortion debate: The pro-lifers are truly showing respect to women by seeking to provide them the accurate information necessary to make an informed decision, while the profiteering abortion industry does what it can to hide accurate medical data that might persuade women that abortion is not a good idea.

Specifically, SB-1318 provides that a woman undergoing a chemical abortion be informed that it “may be possible” to reverse the effects of the abortion drug if she changes her mind, “but that time is of the essence.” The state’s website must now direct women where to obtain further information and assistance in locating a medical professional who can help.

This “abortion reversal” process, first initiated by and discussed in a peer-reviewed study by Dr. George Delgado, is based upon a well-established medical regimen that is used in other areas of health care — in particular, methotrexate and “leucovorin rescue.” Methotrexate, a chemotherapy drug, kills rapidly dividing cells (cancer cells). It works specifically by blocking the action of folic acid. Typically, physicians allow the methotrexate to work for a day or two, and then give the patient a high dose of leucovorin, a type of folic acid, to compensate for what has been lost. This high dosage of folic acid in essence kicks the methotrexate out of the cells. This flooding of the patient’s body with folic acid is called a “leucovorin rescue.” It is a well-established medical procedure.

The abortion-reversal process is based on the same scientific principle. The first drug in a chemical abortion — mifepristone — works by blocking progesterone receptors (progesterone is necessary for the development of the unborn child). As claimed in the abortion manual of the National Abortion Federation, mifepristone results in a complete termination of pregnancy in 60 to 80 percent of cases. In the United States, a second drug (misoprostol) is used to induce contractions in order to expel the “pregnancy” from the uterus.

Understanding the science behind the way mifepristone works has allowed physicians to design a “rescue” for the woman who has taken mifepristone and then regretted it. Since mifepristone works by blocking progesterone, physicians know that treating a woman with progesterone can displace mifepristone from the progesterone receptors. This allows the woman’s body to respond naturally to progesterone and to effectively fight the effects of the mifepristone blockage.

Progesterone itself has been used in pregnancies for decades. It is used in in vitro fertilization, infertility treatments, and high-risk pregnancies. Thus physicians know that using progesterone to reverse the effects of mifepristone is safe for the woman.

At this point, it has been reported that 80 babies have been born following the abortion-reversal process, with another 60 or so on the way (still in utero). Clearly, it happens sometimes that women undergoing chemical abortions do change their minds, and the information in SB-1318 can make a life-or-death difference for a woman who comes to regret her decision.

As the Supreme Court aptly noted in 2007, it is “unexceptionable to conclude some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained.” That is why it would be unconscionable to allow the abortion industry to hide the information that could allow such women to reverse the chemical-abortion process and go on to have a healthy child. Ignorance about a life-ending chemical cocktail is not bliss.

— Mailee  Smith is staff counsel for Americans United for Life.


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