LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas Senate voted Thursday to require doctors give written notice to women undergoing drug-induced abortions that the procedure can be halted halfway, a claim that medical groups say isn’t backed up by science.
The Senate voted 29-5 to expand a 2015 law requiring doctors to personally notify women seeking medication abortions about the so-called reversal procedure. Arkansas is one of four states that require doctors to personally counsel women that it may be possible to reverse a medication abortion. Idaho, South Dakota and Utah have similar laws in effect.
The latest proposal, which now heads to the House, requires doctors to also give women a written notice after they’ve dispensed the first dose of abortion-inducing drugs that it may be possible to reverse its intended effect if the second pill or tablet hasn’t been taken. Similar bills are also being considered in Kansas and Oklahoma.
“They may still choose to take the second dose and still go through with it, but they need to at least know there is an option out there,” Republican Sen. Missy Irvin, the bill’s sponsor, said before the vote.
“Abortion reversal” claims have been criticized by medical groups who say it’s not supported by evidence.
“Claims regarding abortion ‘reversal’ treatment are not based on science and do not meet clinical standards,” the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says in a statement on its website.
The legislation was also criticized for the notice advising women to look up the term “abortion pill reversal” on the Internet if they decide they want to continue the pregnancy.
“We’re going to tell a woman to Google information? That’s going to be the advice we give, go on the Internet and look this up?” said Democratic Sen. Keith Ingram, the chamber’s minority leader, who voted against the measure.
The proposal is among several abortion restrictions that are working their way quickly through the majority-Republican Legislature. Gov. Asa Hutchinson last week signed into law a measure that would ban abortion in the state if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing the procedure nationwide. The House earlier this week approved a bill that would ban abortions 18 weeks into a woman’s pregnancy.
Two Democrats joined with the Senate’s 27 Republicans to vote for the bill, while five Democrats voted against it.