Arkansas Passes Junk Science Abortion Bill

April 7, 2015 1:45 pm

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NEW YORK – A bill that requires doctors to tell women receiving a medication abortion that it could be “reversible,” despite the lack of scientific evidence to support the statement, becomes law today without the governor’s signature. The governor had until yesterday to sign or veto the law; without his signature it automatically becomes law.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says there are no reliable research studies that prove medication abortion can be reversed. Arkansas is the second state to mandate such a rule, after Arizona passed a similar law in March.

“Extreme legislators are so focused on preventing a woman from getting an abortion that they are willing to ignore the medical experts and hide behind junk science,” said Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project. “This isn’t an isolated instance. Across the country, legislators are pushing laws that are opposed by the leading medical organizations for the sole purpose of shutting down women’s health centers and stopping a woman from getting an abortion.”

The Arkansas bill also creates a forced 48-hour delay for a woman who has decided to have an abortion and forces her to make an additional trip to one of only three clinics in the state.

Relying on unsupported science to support abortion restrictions continues across the country:

· Arizona’s governor recently signed a similar bill.

· States across the country have passed laws that require abortion clinics to close purportedly for women’s health reasons, even though medical experts oppose those laws.

· Federal courts have repeatedly found that these types of restrictions aren’t about good medicine:

o In striking down a law that would have forced abortion clinics in Wisconsin to close, Judge William Conley said: “In summary, defendants have failed to offer credible evidence that the admitting privileges requirement furthers continuity of care in any meaningful way.”

o Judge Myron Thompson, who struck down a similar Alabama law, said the requirement “does not reflect the practice of 21st century medicine” and that it would “have the practical effect of undermining the patient-care goals put forward by the State.”

· Additionally, federal courts have repeatedly called into question the experts defending these laws.

o Multiple federal judges have questioned the credibility of Dr. John Thorp, a key witness for the state in numerous challenges to abortion restrictions.

o Judges have also questioned the credibility of Dr. James Anderson, who is also a key witness for the state in numerous challenges to restrictions.

o Vincent Rue, who coordinates closely with nearly all states experts in challenges to admitting privileges law, has been discredited. Yet states continue to pay him to develop and support expert witnesses.

· A number of states are considering or have enacted laws that would mandate doctors to rely on outdated protocols for administering medication abortion, even though the modern medical consensus is that there are safer, more effective regimens.

o In temporarily blocked Arizona’s law, the court noted at length that medical experts advocate for an evidence-based protocol over the method Arizona forced doctors to use. In December, the Supreme Court refused to hear that case.

· Five states require a woman to be provided with information that shows a link between abortion and breast cancer; even though the National Cancer Institute says having an abortion doesn’t increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer.

· Many states require that a woman be presented with false information linking abortion with negative mental health consequences.

The goal of all of these laws is the same – to restrict access to abortion. Medical experts, like the American College of Gynecologists, oppose these types of bills because they have no medical basis and block access to care.

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