Louisiana gov. signs bill requiring abortionists to notify women about abortion pill reversal

Democratic incumbent Governor John Bel Edwards speaks to a crowd at the Renaissance Baton Rouge Hotel on November 16, 2019 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Democratic incumbent Governor John Bel Edwards speaks to a crowd at the Renaissance Baton Rouge Hotel on November 16, 2019 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. | Getty Images/Matt Sullivan

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed a bill into law requiring abortion providers to inform women about the abortion pill reversal if they're having a chemical abortion. 

Known as House Bill 578 or Act 483, the Democrat governor signed the measure along with other bills last Friday, with the new law expected to go into effect on Aug. 1.

The law pertains to chemical abortions, also sometimes referred to as medical abortions, in which women are given two drugs in the form of pills: mifepristone or RU-486, and misoprostol. Mifepristone works by blocking the effects of the natural pregnancy hormone progesterone. Misoprostol induces contractions and a miscarriage.

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The reversal involves giving the pregnant mother a higher dose of progesterone to counteract the mifepristone and help hold the baby in place. 

According to HB 578, the disclosure statement explains: “Research has indicated that the first pill provided, identified as mifepristone, is not always effective in ending a pregnancy. If after taking the first pill you regret your decision, please consult a physician or healthcare provider immediately to determine if there are options available to assist you in continuing your pregnancy.”

“When mifepristone is administered, dispensed, or otherwise provided to a pregnant woman by a physician or any person acting under the physician's direction, whether in a licensed outpatient abortion facility, private medical office, or any other facility, then the physician or the person acting under the physician's direction shall provide the disclosure statement,” the bill states. 

According to the law, the disclosure statement can be stapled to the package containing the misoprostol, attached to the written prescription for the misoprostol provided, or attached to the discharge instructions for the patient “if the prescription for misoprostol is sent directly to a pharmacy.”

Edwards also signed House Bill 357 into law last Friday, which requires abortion providers to submit additional information about the status of minors who undergo an abortion. 

In a statement posted to his official Twitter account, Edwards said that although “much has been made of a handful of controversial bills,” the GOP-controlled legislature and the governor “produced many good laws that will improve the lives of Louisianans.”

“We did this through bipartisan cooperation and compromise,” he continued. “As we have proven time and time again, the people of Louisiana are best served when all of us put aside our differences and focus on projects, programs and progress for all.”

Pre-filed in April, HB 578 was passed by the state Senate in June by a vote of 31-7, with the House passing the Senate amended bill last month in a vote of 69-25.

Louisiana Right to Life Executive Director Benjamin Clapper posted a video on Facebook Friday celebrating the news of the abortion pill reversal law being signed.

“This is great news,” said Clapper. “This is now another step in Louisiana that can help these women who regret their abortion, who’ve taken the first chemical pill for the abortion and then this can help them know there is an option out there.”

“Now, this statement given to them will give them hope. If they regret their abortion, they’ll know this option is out there, they’ll know it’s available for them to reverse their abortion.”

According to some, especially pro-life groups, chemical abortions can be reversed if the woman does not take the misoprostol and additional medical help is sought, such as taking progesterone.

Abortion reversal pill treatments are controversial, with groups like The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists saying they are “not based on science and do not meet clinical standards.”

“Yet, politicians are pushing legislation to require physicians to recite a script that a medication abortion can be ‘reversed’ with doses of progesterone, and to steer women to this care,” stated ACOG, an organization that advocates for abortion on demand and abortion for minors without parental consent. "Unfounded legislative mandates represent dangerous political interference and compromise patient care and safety."  

In an earlier interview with The Christian Post, Sue Turner, director of Physicians for Life, cited a U.S. study that showed a 64% to 68% success rate of delivering a healthy baby after a woman has been given the natural hormone progesterone that’s essential to maintaining a healthy pregnancy. CP previously reported on that study and its results here and here.

“It’s not like it’s something that doesn’t work,” Turner said. “Natural progesterone has been used for decades to stop miscarriages. The doctors will give the mother natural progesterone to stop her from having contractions and help hold the baby in place until she gets closer to her due date. That was why they used it in the first place.” 

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