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Doctors soon may be required by the state of Indiana to provide women seeking a pill-induced abortion with medical advice that's not supported by any scientific study.

The Republican-controlled House voted 67-27 Monday to advance to the Senate House Bill 1577, mandating doctors tell their patients that a pill-induced abortion possibly can be "reversed."

State Rep. Peggy Mayfield, R-Martinsville, the sponsor, claimed more than 2,000 women in the United States and around the world have successfully continued their pregnancies after not taking the second dose of the abortion pill and instead promptly receiving progesterone injections, despite taking the first abortion pill.

She said women in Indiana deserve to know about the “possibility of available treatment if she should change her mind,” even though Mayfield acknowledged abortion “reversal” is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Mayfield likened her proposed abortion “reversal” advisory to Indiana's right-to-try statute that allows terminally ill Hoosiers to use experimental drugs or treatments that still are awaiting federal approval.

Records show pregnancy generally is not considered a terminal illness and approval for abortion “reversal” is not under consideration at the FDA.

State Rep. Robin Shackleford, D-Indianapolis, led the opposition to the proposal, especially the requirement that doctors tell women abortion “reversal” is a legitimate medical treatment.

She noted the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has declared abortion "reversal" attempts are not recommended or supported by scientific evidence, and the organization calls legislative mandates based on unproven, unethical research dangerous to women’s health.

“We are poised to pass a bill that forces doctors to lie to patients,” Shackleford said. “In no other area of medicine would we force a provider to violate acceptable standards of informed consent and provide inaccurate and harmful information to a patient about an unproven theory.”

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Other provisions of the legislation include forcing every woman prior to an abortion be provided a printed ultrasound image of her fetus, even if she declines to view the ultrasound monitor while the mandatory procedure is underway.

Mayfield said she’s been told for many women looking at an ultrasound image is “the most impactful material used to change their minds,” and the mandate is in keeping with her goal to “make abortion unthinkable.”

Shackleford said she believes it’s wrong for the state to force an ultrasound image into a woman’s hands — and require it be permanently attached to her medical records — when she’s already made the decision not to look at it.

“This stigmatizing, shaming requirement undermines trust between patients and providers, serves no medical purpose, and takes personal medical decisions out of the hands of providers and patients,” Shackleford said.

The measure, which now goes to the Republican-controlled Senate, also restricts abortion pill access to eight weeks post-fertilization, instead of the nine weeks in current law, and requires notarized parental consent to a minor’s abortion even though a parent already is required to accompany a pregnant teenager to the procedure.

The Indiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which repeatedly has successfully challenged Indiana abortion restrictions on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, issued a statement following the House vote describing the legislation as unconstitutional, and hinting a lawsuit is in the offing if the proposal becomes law.

Meet the 2021 Northwest Indiana legislative delegation

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