Sarah Kate Purnell
NC legislature introduced House Bill 62 on FEB 8. HB 62 would mandate women contemplating non-surgical abortion be informed that the process has the possibility of being reversed.
The bill is an addition to HB 854, A Woman’s Right to Know Act, which was introduced back in 2011. A Woman’s Right to Know Act ensures that women receive medical information and resources prior to abortion. HB 854 requires that a woman certify in writing that they have received the information and walked through the appropriate process 24 hours prior to an abortion or 72 hours prior via mail.
Additionally, HB 854 requires that women seeking an abortion receive an ultrasound and listen to a fetal heart tone. The physician is required to give a description of the ultrasound, as well. Should the patient refuse to receive this information, the physician must persist.
HB 62, sponsored by Rep. Larry Pittman, House Speaker Pro Tem Sarah Stevens, Rep, Beverley Boswell, and Rep. Michael Speciale, aims to give women a “second chance” when considering abortion.
During a non-surgical abortion, a woman is prescribed two doses of pill medication. The first, Mifepristone, blocks progesterone, therefore making the woman’s uterus unable to sustain a baby. The second pill, Misoprostol, is taken later on in the process to complete the abortion.
HB 62 would require an additional step in this process. While both pills are generally administered to a patient at the same time for the second dose to be taken later on at home, the bill would require women return to a physician for the second pill. Upon this visit, a physician would have to provide the patient with medical proof of fetal death before administering a second pill.
If the mifepristone was not completely effective, physician would be ordered to inform the women of a possibly reversal process before continuing. If the woman wished to reverse the process, they have the option of receiving progesterone, in hopes to reverse the mifepristone.
The house bill has received much backlash from medical professionals and organizations, as they claim there is no medically accepted evidence to support a safe and promising reversal of abortion.
“HB 62 is yet another attempt at making it more difficult for women to make safe and legal decisions about their health.” Dave Wils, active member of the Guilford County Democratic Party and current Piedmont Regional Vice President of Young Democrats of Guilford County stated. “It is beyond time for women to be able to enjoy medical advice on reproductive decisions that are based on a doctor’s years of training and expertise and not on what a group of legislators believe due to their ideological opposition to abortion. And, beyond that, the “science” behind this bill is unproven and it would be unconscionable for medical doctors to be forced to offer their patients medical advice based on claims that are dubious at best.”
“I feel that it’s truly unethical to give someone medically unproven information,” Amy Bryant, an OBGYN with the UNC Medical Center stated to NC Policy Watch. “We counsel women carefully and women think hard about whether they want to have an abortion or not, and when they choose to have one, they should be allowed to.”
However, according to NC Policy Watch, Matthew Harrison, a Charlotte-area doctor who assisted Rep. Pittman in the wording of HB 62 claims the science behind the bill is “solid”.
“The doctor who asked me to run this bill is the one who discovered how to stop the process of an RU486 abortion, and has been involved with others in saving over 200 babies over the past ten years after their mothers had taken the first pill and changed their minds.” Rep. Pittman stated. “If we are going to put so much emphasis on “a woman’s right to choose,” we should include her informed right to change her mind.”
Similar laws pertaining to abortion reversal exist in South Dakota and Arkansas, with an additional one proposed in Arizona.
“It is our hope that this bill is defeated and that the General Assembly turn their attention to improving our public schools, expanding healthcare access for all, and repealing the economically devastating law known as HB2,” Wils of GCDP expressed.