“Strong informed consent requirements manifest both a trust in women and a justified concern for their welfare,” said AUL’s Denise Burke.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (02-09-17) – “Women are more than capable of making an informed choice and deserve the benefit of all available information, especially when a life is on the line,” said Americans United for Life Vice President of Legal Affairs Denise Burke on Thursday after providing written testimony on Colorado’s HB 1086, the Abortion Pill Reversal Information Act. The proposed law addresses the fact that a woman undergoing a chemical abortion through a two-drug RU-486 regimen may be able to reverse its effects and change her mind about completing the abortion, if she acts quickly. As of May 2016, 175 babies had been born and another 100 were on the way (i.e., still in utero), following the reversal process through a well-established medical regimen used in other kinds of healthcare.
In her testimony, Burke observed: “Abortion advocates frequently claim to be ‘pro-choice,’ but they only actually support the choice to have an abortion. As noted in the legislative findings of HB 1086, abortion providers sometimes fail to provide adequate and accurate information to women considering abortions. As a result, many women are physically and psychologically harmed by the abortion process. When a woman is not given comprehensive and medically accurate information, her ‘choice’ to abort is, in reality, no choice at all.
“In 1992, in the landmark case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court ruled that informed consent laws are constitutional. The Court found that such laws reduce ‘the risk that a woman may elect an abortion, only to discover later, with devastating psychological consequences, that her decision was not fully informed.’ The Casey Court further acknowledged that “[a]bortion is a unique act. It is an act fraught with consequences … for the woman who must live with the implications of her decision.’
“These consequences would seem especially pronounced in situations where a woman regrets her decision to use or ingest an abortion-inducing drug and later learns that she was not told that it might have been possible to reverse the effects of this drug, allowing her to continue her pregnancy and to deliver a healthy child.”
Currently, 33 states have enforceable general informed consent requirements. The majority of these laws also include reflection periods for women to consider the information that they have been given in anticipation of making a final decision as to whether or not to have an abortion. Importantly, states have also enhanced their general informed consent laws for abortion by requiring information on fetal pain, the availability of ultrasounds, perinatal hospice options for women faced with prenatal diagnoses of lethal fetal anomalies, anti-coercion counseling, and, as in HB 1086, the potential ability to reverse the effects of chemical abortions before all of the drugs in the regimen have been ingested. To date, three states have enacted laws requiring that women be given information about the potential to reverse a chemical or drug-inducing abortion.
Click here to read Burke’s complete testimony.
Click here to learn more about the health risks of abortion for women, including the dangers to women from chemical abortion, which can have more severe side effects than surgical abortion.