The next abortion fight in Idaho is expected to hit the floor of the state senate in the coming days. The debate swirls around Senate Bill 1243, which would require health care providers to tell patients how they might access a so-called "abortion-reversing" medication—a procedure that some health care providers say has no basis in science. In addition, the bill would require the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to publish printed material regarding abortion-reversing medication.
The bill co-sponsor, Sen. Lori DenHartog (R-Meridian) told the Senate State Affairs Committee, "Women deserve this access. They shouldn't be stopped from knowing their options should they change their mind."
Planned Parenthood calls DenHartog's proposal "reckless," adding that that the bill was "a clear indication that legislators need to leave the practice of medicine to medical professionals."
"Reversing a medication abortion is an unproven procedure," said Mistie Tolman, Idaho Public Affairs Manager at Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii. "Everybody deserves accurate information and comprehensive medical care and this bill does the exact opposite."
Planned Parenthood said the measure is already opposed by the American Medical Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
But DenHartog said abortion pill reversal, which gives a woman extra doses of progesterone, can help keep an unborn baby alive even if the process of a chemical abortion has begun. The "reversal" doses of progesterone would be administered "halfway" through the full procedure of a two-step chemical abortion, according to its proponents.
"[Planned Parenthood] has engaged in a years-long campaign to discredit this protocol," said DenHartog. "But it can't change reality. Using this protocol, many women who changed their minds, have carried their babies to term."
The State Senate Affairs Committee voted along party lines to advance the bill—all Republican members were in favor of the "abortion reversal" bill while the panel's two Democrats opposed the measure. SB 1243 is expected to be considered by the full Senate by month's end.