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‘Abortion Reversal’ Policy Surfaces In Kentucky Legislature

Ryland Barton
Credit Ryland Barton

Doctors would be required to tell patients seeking a medically-induced abortion that the procedure can be reversed, under a bill advancing through the Kentucky legislature despite warnings from medical professionals.

The measure was added to a bill that would require doctors to report all medically-induced abortions — one of at least four abortion-related measures moving through the legislature.

Sen. Robby Mills, a Republican from Henderson and sponsor of the bill, said that doctors should be required to tell patients that they can stop a medically-induced abortion if they “only take the first pill and not the second pill.”

“So they leave the doctor’s office or the clinic fully informed and know that if they regret the situation a day from now that there is a process, a phone number and a website that can be reached to reverse it,” Mills said.

Arkansas, Arizona, and South Dakota have passed laws requiring doctors to counsel patients that they can reverse medication abortions.

Dr. Nicole Nolan, an OB-GYN at the University of Louisville, said that the procedure is unproven and the policy would interfere with the doctor-patient relationship.

“I think patients should be counseled appropriately. I would like all my patients to know all their options for any medication they take or any procedure they undergo,” Nolan said. “But I don’t think physicians should be required to tell patients information that is medically inaccurate.”

Senate Bill 50 has already passed out of the state Senate. The original version of the bill would require doctors to report all abortions to the Kentucky Vital Statistics Branch.

The amended version passed out of the House Health and Family Services Committee on Thursday.

Rep. Robert Goforth, a Republican from East Bernstadt, argued that the policy would better inform patients seeking the procedure.

“It may save a life by providing that proper education,” said Goforth, who is also running for governor.

Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, a Democrat from Louisville, argued that the proposal would further restrict abortions.

“A personal, private medical decision needs to remain personal and private between the physician and the woman. We do way too much meddling with women’s uteruses,” Marzian said.

A spokesperson from the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky said that the organization would challenge the bill in court if it passed.

Copyright 2019 WKU Public Radio

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives for Kentucky Public Radio, a group of public radio stations including WKMS, WFPL in Louisville, WEKU in Richmond and WKYU in Bowling Green. A native of Lexington, Ryland most recently served as the Capitol Reporter for Kentucky Public Radio. He has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.
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