Latest anti-abortion bill includes a legislative double-standard | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Latest anti-abortion bill includes a legislative double-standard

Posted By on Tue, Apr 7, 2015 at 2:04 PM

Planned Parenthood has issued a statement criticizing the latest anti-abortion bill approved by Gov. Asa Hutchinson because its provisions have been blasted by doctors as medical quackery. The bill became law yesterday.

The new bill, which imposes a 48-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion, also requires doctors to give advice about a "medically untested and unproven 'abortion reversal' treatment."

There was an outcry from medical experts after a similar law was signed in Arizona. Arkansas generally flies under radar when it goes along with right-wing extremism. It's expected here.

As recounted in Arizona coverage, chemical abortions, which are performed in about the first eight weeks of pregnancy, require administration of two drugs — mifepristone and then, 48 hours later, misoprostol. The new anti-abortion legislation requires that women must be told if they have second thoughts after taking the first drug they can reverse the effects by taking high does of progesterone. The American College of Obstretricians and Gynecolosts notes this is not an FDA-approved procedure and that progesterone can cause adverse reactions and side effects.

No matter. Arkansas legislators have always known better than doctors about the practice of medicine when it comes to women's reproduction.

This bill is, in addition to being unsafe, unproven and unrecommended, hypocritical. It requires medical advice about off-label use of a drug. Another piece of anti-abortion legislation this session PREVENTS doctors from prescribing a thoroughly tested and safe off-label use of the abortion drugs that happens to differ from now outdated dosage protocol.

FDA good when it suits the legislature's intent; bad when it doesn't.

Said Planned Parenthood:

The national groups behind this measure are the very same people who make false claims that rape can’t lead to pregnancy — and whose real agenda is to ban abortion outright. Once it goes into effect, the Arkansas law will also mandate a 48-hour delay for a woman to access a safe, legal abortion.

“Planned Parenthood works every day to make sure women receive safe, compassionate health care, as well as accurate information, support and counseling,” said Suzanna de Baca, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. “Make no mistake—this law is based in politics and not science. This session, politicians in Arkansas passed six new measures restricting access to safe, legal abortion in our state. Planned Parenthood will continue to do everything in our power to fight for a woman’s access to medically accurate information and safe, legal abortion in Arkansas. “

The legislature passed six anti-abortion bills. In another bit of hypocrisy, they prohibited doctors from counseling women seeking a chemical abortion by television hookup though they passed legislation encouraging telemedicine in other facets of health care.

Planned Parenthood noted that Arkansas ranks at the bottom on women's health indicators and that only three health centers provide legal abortion in Arkansas. The new legislation will further restrict access, perhaps producing outright barriers.

Said Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood's president, on the abortion "reversal" counseling: “This legislation is based on junk science and would force doctors to provide patients with untested information that could be harmful to their health. Politicians are not medical experts, yet politicians have written these reckless laws as part of a broader effort to end access to safe, legal abortion, plain and simple.”

Anti-abortion groups naturally defend the new law. The Washington Post reports on the dispute here. Furthermroe, in a lengthy analysis, its fact-checker gives "two Pinocchios" to the abortion reversal claim.

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