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Doctors might be forced to tell people in North Dakota that "abortion reversals" are possible

Monday's hearing about the bill had standing room only.

by Carter Sherman
Jan 22 2019, 5:53pm

When North Dakota legislators held a hearing on Monday over a so-called “abortion reversal” bill, there was standing room only. As the packed event unfolded, opponents tried to convince lawmakers that the bill was rooted in bad science.

The bill would require physicians to tell patients they can potentially “reverse” a medication-induced abortion. But "there's no credible, medically accepted evidence that a medication abortion can be reversed,” as Tammi Kromenaker, the director of the state’s last abortion clinic, the Red River Women's Clinic, told lawmakers in the House’s Human Service Committee.

The bill would “force physicians to lie to their patients,” Kromenaker added in the hearings, which marked the end of a six-year-long pause in the fight over abortion access in North Dakota.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has declared that the research purporting to show that so-called “abortion reversal” works don’t meet clinical standards and are not supported by science. Still, so far, at least four states have passed laws similar to the one proposed in North Dakota.

The Republican legislators backing the bill said that it would give women who want abortions more information about their options.

“When I go in as a woman to consult my physician, I want all the options, I want all the information, I want second opinions,” Republican state Sen. Janne Myrdal, who co-sponsored the bill, told the Bismarck Tribune. “Why on earth are we dealing with a pregnancy differently?”

In another committee hearing on Monday, North Dakota legislators also heard testimony over another proposed abortion restriction, which would outlaw a common procedure used to end pregnancies in the second trimester. Similar bans are already in place in two states, but legal challenges have put them on hold in several others, the Associated Press reported.

The Human Services Committee didn’t take action on either bill after the hearings but is expected to make recommendations on the bills sometime in the coming weeks.

Cover image: A crowd of people fill a hearing room of the North Dakota state Capitol to give testimony on legislation dealing with abortion, in Bismarck, N.D., Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Tom Stromme/The Bismarck Tribune via AP)

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