The all-out assault on a woman’s right to make important decisions about her own body appears to be growing more bizarre and disturbing by the minute. Earlier this month, Palmer Report told you that a new requirement in Missouri mandates that every woman who seeks a legal abortion must undergo a pointless three-day waiting period, creating undue hardships and added expenses. To add insult to injury, women must submit to a medically unnecessary, invasive vaginal examination just so that this waiting period can begin. A doctor from Missouri’s last remaining abortion provider chillingly yet accurately described this medieval requirement as a “state-sanctioned, essentially, sexual assault.”
Not to be outdone, a growing number of states are passing a law that “effectively forces physicians to lie to their patients,” according to Molly Duane, a staff attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights. As the Huffington Post has exposed, in 2019, five states, including North Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Arkansas, have so far enacted legislation that requires doctors to advise women that a “medication abortion” can be reversed. (South Dakota, Utah, and Idaho already had such laws on the books going into this year.)
A medication abortion is a safe way to end a pregnancy before 10 weeks that involves taking two different prescription drugs a couple of days apart. According to recent data from the Guttmacher Institute, this nonsurgical type of abortion accounted for 31% of nonhospital abortions, and clinical studies have shown it has an impressive 97.4% effective rate, according to data from the Food and Drug Administration. Given its popularity and effectiveness, the medication abortion has fallen in the crosshairs of anti-choice politicians.
What they’ve come up with is a law requiring doctors to advise women that it may be possible to reverse an abortion before they take the second of the two prescribed drugs. The problem is, no credible study exists on such “abortion reversal,” and so pursuing it may expose patients to unforeseen health risks. Moreover, forcing doctors to offer unproven, fake, and potentially dangerous advice under the guise of accepted, wise counsel interferes with the doctor-patient relationship that is supposed to be built on trust. Being against a woman’s right to choose is one thing. But placing doctors in crazy positions in which they must lie and sexually assault their patients is reprehensible.