Idaho House passes unscientific and unethical anti-abortion bill

The bill is just one signature away from becoming law.

Idaho's latest anti-abortion bill would put the health of abortion seekers at risk. (credit: getty images)
Idaho's latest anti-abortion bill would put the health of abortion seekers at risk. (credit: getty images)

The Idaho House on Monday passed an anti-abortion measure that is based on shoddy and unscientific research, aiming to place yet another barrier between women and gender minorities who seek abortions.

SB 1243 would require the state Department of Health and Welfare to provide individuals seeking abortions with information about reversing a medication-induced abortion. It would also require the agency to publish information on its website about the reversal procedure, which according to Planned Parenthood, has “no basis in science.”

The American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) have both confirmed there is no evidence that a medication-induced abortion can be reversed. Despite the lack of scientific support, Republican Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt, a co-sponsor of the bill, told her colleagues prior to the vote that the legislation “is about empowering women through information so she can make that choice [to reverse an abortion].”

But, as DeMordaunt’s Democratic colleagues tried to emphasize, it’s not possible to empower women if the means of doing so is harmful to their health.

“I think this is a very dangerous bill and it is a travesty that it is going forward,” said Rep. Melissa Wintrow (D), according to The Spokesman-Review. “It’s not a protocol, and it’s not a scientific study, and it’s not a real thing.”

Wintrow noted the bill is based on an unscientific 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, as ACOG states, 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.”

“Legislative mandates based on unproven, unethical research are dangerous to women’s health,” ACOG stated.

During a heated floor debate, House Democrats reiterated the bill’s safety risks, while Republicans spoke about the “sanctity of life,” the Coeur d’Alene Press reported.

“What a humbling and historic opportunity we have right now … to restore life, to be a mother,” Rep. Barbara Ehardt (R) said.

“I don’t know what more evidence we need that it works, if you see a healthy child standing right there in front of you,” said Rep. John VanderWoude (R).

The legislation, which was passed along party lines with all 11 Democrats voting against the bill, is the latest in a slew of anti-abortion bills that have advanced in the Idaho legislature in recent months. Similar bills recently advanced in Indiana and Arizona.

SB 1243 already passed in the Senate and is now headed to Gov. Butch Otter’s (R) desk, where it is just one signature away from becoming law.