Nebraska lawmakers just passed a bill that would require the state’s abortion providers to inform women about the option of continuing their pregnancy after the first two abortion drugs — or halfway through the medical process. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the bill is intended to ensure that women understand their options and help women who change their minds during the abortion process.
The bill, which advanced through a 37-9 first-round vote Tuesday, was introduced by State Senator Joni Albrecht of Thurston and is a high priority for anti-abortion groups.
“I believe that we have a responsibility to let the ladies know that it can be reversed if they should elect to take that first pill.”
Senator Steve Halloran said that the bill is not about abortion, but informed consent.
“This is not about ending a pregnancy, specifically. It’s about a woman having control over her decisions, and taking the prerogative to change her mind.”
Although two more votes are required before the bill reaches the governor, similar bills have already been passed in at least eight other states.
Albrecht cited evidence that if a medical professional gives a woman high doses of progesterone within 72 hours of taking mifepristone, the first abortion drug, it might be able to pave the way for a continued pregnancy — but only if she has yet to take the second drug, misoprostol.
Nebraska lawmakers overcame a filibuster Tuesday to advance a bill that aims to help women who change their minds halfway through a medication abortion. https://t.co/3ULTBl4aDU
— Omaha World-Herald (@OWHnews) May 7, 2019
But KETV reports that opponents of the bill decry it as an example of the government interfering with the doctor-patient relationship. Not only that, they suggest that the evidence is not sufficient because it stems from cases provided by a California doctor in 2018 and not peer-reviewed scientific research. In addition, The Omaha World Herald reports that approximately 25 to 50 percent of women who don’t take the second abortion drug remain pregnant, which sheds doubt on the effectiveness of the proposed progesterone treatment.
“Patients who want to continue their pregnancy should not be guinea pigs, and the Nebraska Legislature should not sanction that,” said Senator Megan Hunt of Omaha.
“I think it’s the Legislature expanding government by interfering in the doctor-patient relationship with the intended purpose of misleading patients to thinking they can reverse this procedure with another drug.”
Planned Parenthood of Nebraska opposed the measure and said that it relies on information that has been rejected by physics and obstetrician-gynecologists across the country,
Although the Nebraska Medical Association (NMA) originally opposed a portion of the bill, citing its potential to provide inaccurate information to patients, it changed its position to neutral after an amendment.