Abortion

Arizona Law Now Forces Doctors to Say Abortion Can Be Reversed

The provision not only puts women at risk but may run afoul of the First Amendment.

|

jennandjon/Flickr

Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed into a law Monday a mandate that physicians give untested and possibly dangerous medical advice to pregnant women. Under the new law, doctors must tell women who take abortion drug mifepristone that the process can be "reversed" if they act quickly enough.

Drug-based abortion is a two-step process, with women taking mifepristone first and, three days later, following up with a second pill (misoprostol). The controversial "reversal" contention is based on work from one anti-abortion physician-activist, George Delgado, who says he's been able to reverse mifepristone's effects with high doses of the hormone progesterone. No clinical trials evaluating this process exist. The only case studies of the process come from Delgado, who says four of the six women he's tried it on wound up carrying their pregnancies to term—a rate similar to that for women who take mifepristone but skip the second abortion pill (no progesterone needed). 

"This is a great day for women in Arizona who are considering getting an abortion to get all the facts they need," Cathi Herrod, president of the conservative Center for Arizona Policy, told Reuters. But doctors and medical groups say otherwise: that abortion "reversal" with progesterone isn't just scientifically suspect but could be dangerous for women—the hormone can come with mild to severe side effects—and open doctors up to legal liability. 

"There is no science to support this," Arizona-based gynecologist Ilana Addis told The Atlantic. "The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists] does not support advising women on treatments that are not evidence-based. These women would be unknowing and unwilling guinea pigs."

This isn't the first time Arizona lawmakers have put "pro-life" politics over what's best for women safety. A 2014 Arizona law that would have required doctors to administer abortion drugs based on outdated (and more risky) protocol; it was eventually blocked by the state Supreme Court.

In addition to putting women's health at risk, the provision would seem to run afoul of the First Amendment by compelling doctors to make statements that run counter to both their beliefs and prevailing medical evidence. Last December, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit struck down a North Carolina law requiring physicians to narrate an ultrasound to women seeking abortions, ruling that the requirement violated the First Amendment. 

NEXT: Indiana RFRA: What Part of Economic Boycotts Do Conservatives Not Understand?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Thank God the state is there to license doctors and assure quality treatments!!!!!!!

  2. This is fucking revolting.

    1. And utterly retarded.

    2. Holy shit. There is (and I’m using this word) literally no science behind this. I sent this to a buddy of mine who is a doctor and the first word out of his mouth was liability. Then getting sued. Then fucking crazy.

  3. Perhaps we should simply revert to making murder illegal. It seemed to be a decent enough legal system, before 1973.

    1. At common law fetuses did fall under homicide laws.

      1. Not according to Blackstone. Before quickening, not a crime. After, only a misdemeanor.

        1. A crime, but not homicide iirc

    2. How long before? I’ll take 18th century laws.

    3. Abortion wasn’t illegal until well into the 1800s. In fact, it was pretty common.

      So much for tradition, eh?

      1. Abortion wasn’t illegal until well into the 1800s.

        My rough understanding is that it was illegal after quickening (when the fetus moves).

        Which is kinda where we are heading back to, with the new generation of laws severely restricting it after 20-whatever weeks. Basically, third trimester abortions, with the tag end of the second trimester.

        There’s worse places to draw the line. Including “right up until you cut the umbilical cord” and “never”.

        1. Current treatment of young people would dictate coverage of this law to 26.75 years after conception

    4. Perhaps we should simply revert to making murder illegal. It seemed to be a decent enough legal system, before 1973.

      There were many places where abortion was legal before Roe v. Wade and likely where it would remain legal if Roe were overturned.

      There are legitimate arguments for criminalizing at least some forms of abortion, but “it should be illegal” does not justify “we can make whatever laws we can get away with”. If you are going to act like progressives, then you stand to be accused of being no better than them. The road to hell…

      1. If you are going to act like progressives, then you stand to be accused of being no better than them.

        This, this, a thousand times this.

  4. This is going to be a fun thread.

  5. maybe we can return Arizona to being a federal territory.

  6. Does the law specify how the information is to be delivered?

    “Ma’am, I am also required by the State of Arizona to inform you that certain state lawmakers believe this procedure can be reversed with a large dose of progesterone within the next three days. There is, however, no clinical evidence to back up that belief. In fact it would probably be a very unhealthy thing to do.”

    1. I was thinking the same thing. Does the law say anything about them adding their own medical advice immediately after the required disclosure of bad advice?

      “I have to say this because it’s the law. Prepare to ignore the information because it’s bullshit.”

      1. Actually, they are required by law to get fully informed consent, which means they have to disclose all the risks and benefits.

        So, yeah, they pretty much have to say “but it would be a really bad idea.” Its the law!

  7. No doubt the Republicans will be completely mystified when the “War on Women” label once again sticks.

    1. “War on science”… “War on doctors”…

      1. War on lawyers…

        /pouts in corner.

    2. It’s the liberal media! Foiled again.

    3. “You still have abortion on demand, so why are you pretending we’re idiot jerks???”

  8. Just curious, but what are the side effects to the baby of having this procedure?

    1. Yeah, the constitutional implications and health concerns of the mother aside, if this increases the risk of developmental abnormalities to the fetus it makes it all the more reprehensible.

      1. Better dead than red better born deformed.

      2. So there’s not a lot of evidence. The drug’s manufacturer warns that it can lead to birth defects. But in the one small study there seems to be (from 2013), the risk of birth defects after mifepristone was about equal to the risk in general. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23346916

        1. (I worded that weirdly. What I meant is the risk of defects after mifepristone is no greater than the risk in people who haven’t taken mifepristone.)

          1. Gotcha. Thanks, ENB.

          2. What about the extra progesterone to ‘reverse’ it?

    2. It would be ironic if the massive overexposure to female hormones from the progesterone injection makes any male fetuses gay or transgendered or something.

  9. “Last December, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit struck down a North Carolina law requiring physicians to narrate an ultrasound to women seeking abortions, ruling that the requirement violated the First Amendment.”

    Did they have to narrate in Morgan Freeman voice? Because then it would be okay.

    1. David Attenborough.

        1. Winner.

      1. Dweebston, that’s just silly. Attenborough only narrates the abortions of Chinstrap penguins in their natural antarctic habitat.

        1. *What* antarctic? After years of watching Attenborough’s documentaries over my girlfriend’s shoulder, I’m pretty sure there’s no ice left.

      2. Optimus Prime?

        Or the original Star Scream?

  10. The Arizona GOP never fails to deliver.

    1. Comforting for me to know that the actual leaders of the Arizona GOP are only slightly less crazy than the Mormon lady from Snowflake who thinks church should be mandatory.

      Still, I like it better here than in California.

    2. never fails to deliver

      Did you mean to do that?

      1. He tried to abort the comment, but then reversed it just in the nick of time.

  11. This is the kind of perverted shit that happens when science is co-opted for political ends.

    There is no ‘fuck you’ big enough to convey my feelings to the warmest scam artists.

    1. warmista. Goddamn spell-check.

    2. They trick us for our own good, Suthenboy.

  12. I certainly haven’t done the medical research, but what I *do* know is that the American College of Obstetricians and gynecologists is not an impartial source of public-policy information.

    From one of their committee reports:

    “Safe, legal abortion is a necessary component of women’s health care. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists supports the availability of high-quality reproductive health services for all women and is committed to improving access to abortion. Access to abortion is threatened by state and federal government restrictions, limitations on public funding for abortion services and training, *stigma,* [emphasis added!] violence against abortion providers, and a dearth of abortion providers. Legislative restrictions fundamentally interfere with the patient-provider relationship and decrease access to abortion for all women, and particularly for low-income women and those living long distances from health care providers. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists *calls for advocacy* [emphasis added] to oppose and overturn restrictions, improve access, and mainstream abortion as an integral component of women’s health care.”

    http://www.acog.org/Resources-…..o-Abortion

    So there ought to be a disclaimer to the effect that ACOG’s statements are advocacy, not science.

    1. There is this thing called an ectopic pregnancy Eddie. There are also times when carrying a baby can imperil a mother’s health, and the choice is abortion or everybody dies.

      I guess anybody who points that out is engaging in advocacy, right?

      1. No, tarran, I said that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is engaging in advocacy by its own admission.

        Seriously, what are you on about?

      2. There is this thing called an ectopic pregnancy Eddie.

        Terminating an ectopic pregnancy is not an abortion under Arizona law.

      3. The overwhelming majority of abortions are elective and unjustified, if you consistently believes that all individuals have the right to life.

        1. A number of libertarians favor ending abortion and personhood, since life begins at conception and the natural libertarian position is to protect life.

          1. All life? Cattle? Wildlife? The rattlesnakes I discover while mowing the grass? Or just human life? Even after committing a heinous crime? Or while trespassing? What about living corpses in a vegetative state? Does the protection of life preclude voluntary euthanasia to end a painful terminal illness? Does it supersede suicide in general? Do I lose my libertarian credentials if I take my own life? If I take the life of a mugger? If I assist in a suicide? Or only if I opt to abort a fetus well before achieving viability? Does personhood inhere at conception, or at the point of viability outside the womb? If the former, does the pre-viable personhood of the fetus supersede the inviolable personhood of the mother?

            1. Let’s focus on human life for the time being. Since unique human life begins at conception, any infringement on that individual’s right to life post-conception would be incompatible with a libertarian worldview, as would killing someone who just happens to be physiologically dependent on another person.

              1. But again, if we set the benchmark at human life and not personhood, we can dispense with executions for capital crimes, killing in self-defense, taking the living dead off life support, or voluntary suicide, most of which libertarians support because they do no violence to the personhood of the life ended (the murderer and the mugger both relinquished their claim on inviolable personhood, the vegetative case no longer has cognition, and a person should have the right to end as well as perpetuate his life). All require some form of agency and apartness, some instillation of personhood, which can be mitigated by circumstance?either they’ve given it up or they’ve lost it. The six-week-old fetus never had it.

                (also, I’m not sold on State executions)

            2. I’m not suggesting abortion is analogous to any of these instances, just that we can mitigate the benchmark you set, to “protect life,” with any number of factors.

              1. Being pro-life and anti-death penalty or anti-euthanasia aren’t mutually exclusive.

                Of course, pro-lifers believe that the existence of life trumps self-awareness, which is an arbitrary unit of measurement.

          2. life begins at conception

            LOL. No. The sperm and egg are very much alive before conception, otherwise it doesn’t work. I love deflating the pious, afactual assertions of idjits like you. Thanks.

            1. Unique human life (with unique DNA) is formed at conception.

            2. The sperm and egg are cells from two different people. That’s it, just cells. No different from a moral perspective than skin or bone cells which people may do whatever they want with. Egg+sperm OTOH creates a new human being with its own DNA. Thus the beginning of a persons life is when the egg and sperm meet. Of course you knew what he was arguing and just decided to be pedantic. Either that or you’re profoundly stupid.

              1. Which gets us right back where we started, arguing when life isn’t merely life but takes on the attributes of personhood. PLL conflates the two, Tonio points out the fallacy, and we’re back to square one.

                1. Any distinction between humanity and personhood is completely arbitrary. Rights should begin when life begins.

                  1. So women are murdering people by allowing eggs to go unfertilized every month? The eggs are alive, so denying them rights is arbitrary.

                    1. The eggs you’re referring to aren’t fertilized.

    2. not an impartial source of public-policy information

      Well, it is a bunch of state-backed cartel members, so.

    3. So, you haven’t done any, like, you know, actual research, yet you still “know”. How does that work, Eddie? Talking snake tell you? A visitation from Our Lady of Sorrows? Enquiring minds want to know.

      1. Chlamydia: The Original Burning Bush

    4. I certainly haven’t done the medical research, but what I *do* know is that the American College of Obstetricians and gynecologists is not an impartial source of public-policy information.

      “I know nothing about Subject A, but this group’s opinion on Subject A is hopelessly biased because they say things I disagree with that have nothing to do with Subject A!” Please.

  13. Single-payer legal care. Because every regulation we put on doctors, we should put on the lawyers, who tend to be a disproportionate section of the legislature, first.

    1. Attorneys must inform their clients that aborting their wealth in a futile attempt to stave off their financial reaming at the hands of the IRS/jilted ex-wife/EPA is irreversible under modern legal proceedings.

  14. My best friend’s mother-in-law makes $85 /hour on the internet . She has been out of work for 5 months but last month her pay was $16453 just working on the internet for a few hours.
    Visit this website ????? http://www.jobsfish.com

  15. “There is no science to support this,”
    .
    If we take “science” to include logic and rationality, you could say the same about laws in general. People generally are pretty quick to do what benefits them and slow to do what does not benefit them, that is logical and rational. You don’t need a law to tell people to do what benefits them or to refrain from doing what does not benefit them – you need laws to compel people to do what does not benefit them or to refrain from doing what does benefit them. Laws, therefore, are there specifically to make people do illogical and irrational things.
    .
    (Note: What is or is not a benefit to someone is subjective – you can argue all you want that drug laws are a good thing because they prevent me from harming myself; my drug use is pretty persuasive evidence that I believe I am benefitting from my drug use. It is completely rational for me to use drugs in my opinion; you can cram your opinion right up your ass.)

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.