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Idaho governor just signed unscientific anti-abortion bill into law

The law is based on shoddy and unethical research.

Butch Otter, Governor of Idaho, attends a conference with his wife Lori Otter on July 6, 2011 in Sun Valley, Idaho. (Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Butch Otter, Governor of Idaho, attends a conference with his wife Lori Otter on July 6, 2011 in Sun Valley, Idaho. (Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter (R) on Tuesday signed into law a bill that requires the state to provide information about reversing a medication-induced abortion to patients who have already taken the abortion pill, despite glaring evidence that the “abortion-reversal” procedure is unscientific and based on shoddy research.

Otter made no comment or fanfare about the new law, which will go into effect July 1. Idaho joins UtahArizona, South Dakota, and Arkansas in enforcing the abortion reversal law. A score of other states have also recently advanced measures with extreme abortion restrictions. On Tuesday, a federal judge temporarily blocked a Mississippi law that banned abortions after 15 weeks gestation.

Idaho’s new law compels the state’s Department of Health and Welfare to provide women and gender minorities seeking abortions with information about reversing a medication-induced abortion. It also requires the agency to publish information on its website about the reversal procedure.

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The law is based on an unscientific research study in which six women took mifepristone, a medication which induces abortion, and were then given various levels of progesterone. Four were able to continue their pregnancies. But, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the “study was not supervised by an institutional review board (IRB) or an ethical review committee, required to protect human research subjects, raising serious questions regarding the ethics and scientific validity of the results.”

According to the Guttmacher Institute, medication-induced abortion is safe and effective, can be self-administered, and can reduce barriers to abortion for women and gender minorities who live in areas where access to clinics are limited. Despite this, states continue to restrict the procedure. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also “imposed restrictions on medication abortion that hinder access for potential patients and do not reflect its long record of safe use.”