Tennessee House advance abortion ‘reversal’ bill

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee House on Monday advanced a proposal requiring providers to inform women that drug-induced abortions may be halted halfway or face felony charges.

Medical groups say that claim isn’t backed up by science and that there is little information about the reversal procedure’s safety.

Lawmakers voted 71-22 on the measure. However, the bill must still pass the Senate before it can be considered by Republican Gov. Bill Lee. While the GOP-dominant Statehouse tends to easily approve anti-abortion bills, Senate leaders have expressed reluctance to take up non-coronavirus related bills while lawmakers work over the next couple of weeks.

A handful of states across the country have adopted similar laws.

Under the proposal, abortion providers would face a $10,000 civil penalty and a felony charge for not informing women by telephone or in person that mifepristone — the drug that begins a medication abortion — does not always end a pregnancy if taken alone.

It also dictates that signs echoing similar claims must also be posted in all patient waiting areas if the provider performs more than 50 abortions in a year.

In the United States, medical abortion involves taking two drugs. The first — mifepristone — thins the lining of the uterus and loosens the connection between the embryo and the uterine lining. The second — misoprostol — softens and opens the cervix and causes contractions to push out the pregnancy.

The second drug is taken at home hours to days after the first drug.

Women rarely change their minds before completing the treatment. Doctors are required to report such information to the manufacturer of mifepristone.

The reversal procedure involves shots of the hormone progesterone given if a woman changes her mind after the first step of a medical abortion.