Breaking News
More () »

Iowa lawmakers to consider banning abortion pills by mail, requiring doctors to inform patients of controversial option to reverse medical abortion

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has said legislation requiring doctors tell patients they can reverse an abortion compromises safety.

DES MOINES, Iowa — House lawmakers are set to debate House File 2389 later this session. The legislation would change Iowa abortion policy in two major ways.

First, it would require women receive the abortion pill in a health care setting. This comes after the FDA eased restrictions during the pandemic, allowing women to receive the pill by mail.

"We obviously want women to have access to health care, first and foremost," said Rep. Shannon Lundgren, R-Peosta, who's managing the bill. "Make sure that they're healthy, and that any drugs that they would be given in any setting, for any reason, wouldn't interact with something else going on in their health care. This was just a way to say hey, 'Here in Iowa, we still want those medications to be given in a health care setting where they are seeing a health care practitioner face-to-face.'"

Opponents say this would be an unnecessary barrier preventing some women from receiving the care they want. 

"It really just makes it so that people with privilege and means can find a way around these laws," said Jamie Burch Elliott, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa. "While far too many Iowans, particularly communities of color, rural folks, women and people with low incomes, will be left with no options at all."

RELATED: Bill banning transgender girls from girls' sports passes House Education Committee

The bill would also require doctors to inform patients seeking a medical abortion they have the option to reverse it, if they change their mind within a certain window of time. This information would not only be posted in these clinics and doctor's offices, but also relayed from the doctors straight to the patient.

"What they do is they use progesterone and that progesterone is obviously naturally created in women to help during pregnancy and to protect pregnancy," Lundgren said. "They give it to women when they are having a miscarriage to try to stop an early miscarriage. So it just makes sense that that drug is also used after the first dose of RU 486 is given to induce that miscarriage in an abortion setting."

But Burch Elliott pointed to a clinical trial studying the use of progesterone to reverse abortions. The researchers stopped mid-study after deeming the process unsafe.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also issued a statement saying the process is not supported by science: 

Facts are important, especially when discussing the health of women and the American public. Claims regarding abortion “reversal” treatment are not based on science and do not meet clinical standards. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) ranks its recommendations on the strength of the evidence, and does not support prescribing progesterone to stop a medical abortion.

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. Unfounded legislative mandates represent dangerous political interference and compromise patient care and safety.

House File 2389 has made it's way out of committee, making it eligible to be debated on the house floor. Local 5 News will continue to update you on its progress.

RELATED: Iowans weigh in on House Republicans' tax proposal during public hearing

WATCH | Iowa bill would allow teachers to face fines, jail time for having 'obscene material' in classrooms 

Before You Leave, Check This Out