DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa House Human Resources Committee passed HF 53 by an 11 to 6 party-line vote on Tuesday afternoon. The bill requires abortion providers to provide informed consent from those undergoing a medical abortion utilizing the abortion-inducing drugs Mifeprex (a.k.a. mifepristone or RU-486) and Cytotec (misoprostol).
Specifically, the bill sponsored by State Rep. Shannon Lundgren, R-Peosta, requires abortion clinics or medical facilities that perform abortions to post a sign in a conspicuous location that reads:
“Recent developing research has indicated that a medication abortion utilizing an abortion-inducing drug is not always effective in ending a pregnancy. It may be possible to avoid, cease, or even to reverse the intended effects of a medication abortion that utilizes an abortion-inducing drug. Please consult with a health care professional immediately.”
The bill also requires that a physician not perform a medical abortion unless they have written certification from the woman seeking an abortion that provides she has been informed in-person or over the phone of the risks commonly associated with medical abortions. Women are also supposed to be informed that it may be possible to reverse the effects of a medical abortion if they change their minds. The bill also requires the Iowa Department of Public Health to include information about medical abortion reversals on their website.
Democrats opposed the bill.
“This bill is about lies. It is unethical. And it’s about lying to women who are vulnerable,” State Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, D-Ames, said.
She read a letter she received on behalf of the Iowa Chapter of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, who opposed a similar bill filed during the 88th General Assembly.
“We are alarmed of this attempt to interfere in the patient-clinician relationship, which requires physicians to give patients information that is not consistent with current evidence-based scientific data and medical consensus,” Wessel-Kroeschell read from the letter.
“By scripting physicians and compelling them to provide medically inaccurate information and steer patients toward untested procedures House File 53 is in direct violation of physicians both to care,” she continued.
“This is so unethical. I can’t even believe we’re discussing it at this table. Truth over lies, this bill forces physicians to lie to their patients. It’s about lies. That’s all this bill does is lie. I am so disappointed in this committee,” Wessel-Kroeschell said in closing.
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is a pro-abortion organization with a political action committee that advocates for abortion access. The points they make are debatable.
Conversely, the pro-life obstetricians and gynecologists disagree with their assessment. The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists back what this bill promotes, providing a statement on abortion pill reversal in 2019.
State Rep. John Forbes, D-Urbandale, a pharmacist, said that the drug given to reverse the abortion, progesterone, would have many side effects.
State Rep. Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City, asked Wessel-Kroeschell if a physician could be sued for medical malpractice if the bill passed.
“I don’t understand why a doctor would practice in the state if this was a requirement,” she answered.
“Probably the legislature should be charged with medical malpractice,” Wessel Kroeschell added.
“I just think it’s irresponsible for us to be doing something that is against their code of ethics, and doctors swear on the oath that they will protect women. And unfortunately, this particular bill certainly does not and could make women more vulnerable,” Mascher stated.
Lundgren, in her closing comments, countered.
“The abortion reversal pill regularly called APR is not a dangerous, untested, unproven, or unapproved FDA drug. We’re talking about progesterone, the hormone produced by the mother’s ovaries, which allows the mother’s womb to carry an unborn child,” she said.
She referred to the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists statement mentioned above.
“We have talked a lot about the right to try. This is a drug that’s been approved by the FDA, and it’s been used for over 50 years to stop a young pregnancy from miscarrying. That’s basically what we’re doing here is we’re telling a doctor that they need to tell women who come in for an abortion that there is the opportunity to possibly reverse that abortion if it’s taken soon enough,” Lundgren said.
“No drug obviously comes without risk. We also know that women have had dangerous complications from medicated abortions. And we’ve seen the testimonies and heard testimonies over the years here at the Capitol of women that have suffered for decades after having an abortion,” she added.
“Doctors also take an oath to protect life, not just women’s life. And we’re also talking about more than one life when we’re talking pregnancy. Information is valuable. It’s valuable to make sure that people know and understand what their options are,” Lundgren concluded.