The Kansas House of Representatives has passed a bill that would require doctors to tell patients it is possible to reverse the effects of the abortion pill, a claim that is not scientifically supported.
The bill, which passed by a vote of 85–39 on Wednesday, is the latest instance of state Republicans seeking to overturn the will of the people, as Kansans already voted last year to keep abortion protections in the state constitution.
Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes slammed the bill as “medically inaccurate, political propaganda.”
The measure would require health care providers to bombard patients with the false claim that they can reverse the effect of a medication abortion. Medication abortions make up more than half of all abortions in the United States and are conducted by having a patient take two medications: mifepristone and misoprostol.
Health care facilities would have to hang a sign saying mifepristone “alone is not always effective in ending a pregnancy. It may be possible to reverse its intended effect if the second pill or tablet has not been taken or administered.”
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says abortion reversal claims are “unproven and unethical,” and attempts to reverse a medication abortion could put a patient’s health at risk. But under the Kansas bill, any facility that does not hang an abortion reversal sign could face a $10,000 fine.
Doctors would not be able to provide a medication abortion without telling the patient at least 24 hours ahead of time that the procedure is reversible. They would also have to repeat the claim in between administering the mifepristone and the misoprostol. Health care providers who fail to do so can be sued by their patient, the person who impregnated the patient, or the patient’s parents if they were a minor.
Democratic Representative Lindsay Vaugh described the bill as “state-mandated deception.”
“We’re requiring doctors to lie to their patients, and we’re putting the lives of women at risk,” she said.
The measure is all the worse because last summer, Kansas residents voted overwhelmingly to keep abortion protections in the state constitution. Since the August referendum, state Republicans have done nothing but try to find new ways to circumvent that vote.
“The voters have made their choices,” Democratic Representative Brad Boyd said. “They have made their voices loud. This body would be wise to listen to them. They were loud, they were clear, they were bold. They do not want government in the room with them and their doctor.”
Democratic Governor Laura Kelly is likely to veto the bill, having already rejected a similar one in 2019. But the measure passed the House by a veto-proof majority. If the Senate, which is held by a Republican supermajority, shows similar support, the legislature could force the measure into law.