House File 53 moved through the Iowa House Human Resources Committee this week. The bill requires a provider to share information with a patient in regards to the use of progesterone to reverse the first dose of medication abortion.
Democrat State Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell spoke out strongly against the legislation.
“A woman deserves to know the truth when she goes to her doctor,” she said. “This bill is about lies. It is unethical and it is about lying to women who are vulnerable.”
Wessel-Kroeschell read from a letter sent by the American Congress of OB/GYNs. The group said it is “alarmed” at this attempt to interfere in the provider-patient relationship.
“Scripting or forcing healthcare providers to give patients unproven information runs counter to their ethical and professional obligations to their patients,” the letter says.
Democrat State Rep. John Forbes, a pharmacist, also spoke against the bill. He said he has “deep concerns” about the legislation.
“I don’t feel comfortable looking at the clinical trials that this is a proven way to reverse an attempted abortion,” he said.
Forbes said that progesterone would most likely be administered by injection and it has a lot of side effects.
“It causes a lot of complications for women,” he said. “A lot of women use it to get pregnant and, sometimes, if it’s overdosed too much, it causes bleeding. Women can literally bleed out by using this medication if they get too much of it. I think mandating physicians to do this is not what Iowans really want us to do.”
Democrat Rep. Mary Mascher asked Wessel-Kroeschell if a doctor could be charged with medical malpractice for recommending the drug knowing it could cause damage to a woman and “possibly death.”
“I don’t understand why a doctor would practice in this state if this was a requirement,” Wessel-Kroeschell said. “Probably the legislature should be charged with medical malpractice. This is a horrible bill.”
Mascher said the bill is irresponsible and she apologized for the fact the bill is being debated.
Republican Rep. Shannon Lundgren, who managed the bill, said the abortion reversal pill, APR, is not a dangerous, untested, unproven or unapproved FDA drug.
“Progesterone is the hormone produced by the mother’s ovaries which allows the mother’s womb to carry an unborn child. The abortion drug that we talk about is a progesterone blocker that creates an unborn baby to miscarry,” Lundgren said. “According to the AAPLOG, which is the pro-life doctors’ organization, the first dose of the abortion pill is a reversible blocker, which means the effects can be stopped by adding large amounts of progesterone.”
Lundgren said progesterone has been used for more than 50 years in the treatment of pregnancies in which women threatening to miscarry due to low progesterone.
“Progesterone has also been used for over three decades in women who have conceived through IVF,” Lundgren said. “This is a drug that’s been approved by the FDA and it’s been used for over 50 years to stop a young pregnancy from miscarrying. That’s basically what we’re doing here. We’re telling a doctor that they need to tell women who come in for an abortion that there is the opportunity to possibly reverse that abortion if it’s taken soon enough.”
Lundgren acknowledged there are side effects, but she noted there are side effects for every dug.
“No drug obviously comes without risk,” she said. “We also know that women have had dangerous complications from medicated abortions. And we’ve seen the testimonies and heard testimonies over the years here at the Capitol of women that have suffered for decades after having an abortion.”
Ultimately, women deserve to know the drug is an option in case they regret their decision to have an abortion.