Opponents Of Controversial Abortion Bill Get Their Turn To Speak Out

Oct 22, 2019

Opponents of a bill that requires doctors give women getting medication abortions information on a controversial reversal procedure got their chance to speak out to an Ohio Senate committee today. 

This bill (SB 155) requires doctors to tell women getting a medication induced abortion that it can possibly be reversed after taking the first of two pills. Backers of the bill cited a controversial study that they say showed 68% of pregnancies were continued after the so-called reversal. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists calls the procedure “junk science.” Jaime Miracle with Naral Pro-Choice Ohio calls this bill a bad idea.

“This legislative body should not be in the practice of forcing medical providers to break their ethical guidelines by requiring them to give, at best, misleading and, at worst, potentially harmful about the pseudoscience claim that abortion can be reversed," Miracle said.

Jessica Cunningham, of Cincinnati, said she thinks this bill could mislead women into abortion by making them think it's not permanent. She explained she chose to continue her unplanned pregnancy. But she said she remembers how conflicted and confused some women feel when they are making decisions in situations like hers. 

"I believe that a woman who is conflicted may feel more inclined to take the abortion pill, based upon the false assumption that it can be reversed," Cunningham said.

Republican Senator Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) told Cunningham she has the same concern. But Roegner says she supported the bill because she thinks it still has some good points.

Reverand Terry Williams with the United Church of Christ said he thinks the bill raises serious ethical questions because the abortion reversal process could be harmful to women. And he said lawmakers would be wise to stay out of making medical decisions right now.

"As many rooms as I have been called into with patients who have asked me to make difficult ethical decisions, they have never once asked for a legislator," Williams said.

Sen. Roegner asked Williams when he believes life begins. He explained the answer is complicated and said he would be happy to discuss that ethical question with her later.

Gary Daniels, ACLU of Ohio, testifies to Senate committee
Credit Jo Ingles

Opponents also testified there are legal concerns with this bill. Gary Daniels, chief lobbyist for the ACLU of Ohio, warned lawmakers this bill threatens a woman's constitutional right to an abortion by threatening doctors who provide them. And he said the legislation, if passed, would likely end up in court.

"Because almost always, these cases are appealed on up the line, you get into legal fees that are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and sometimes over a million dollars," Daniel said.

A handful of states have passed similar laws. Two have been blocked by courts and others are being challenged.