PHOENIX — The state House voted Monday to require doctors to tell women their medication abortions may be reversible, even absent any scientific studies to show that's possible.
SB 1318 is based on arguments that 80 women nationwide who have had second thoughts have been able to halt their abortions even after taking RU-486.
"These women deserve the truth to know whether or not you can reverse an RU-486 abortion," said Rep. Kelly Townsend, R-Scottsdale. And Townsend said she knows of no side effects to the woman or the baby if the abortion can be halted.
But Rep. Randall Friese, D-Tucson, called the practice "fringe medicine." And Rep. Regina Cobb, R-Kingman, said the label for progesterone, the hormone that would be used to halt a medication abortion, warns that there are possible birth defects when a pregnant woman takes high doses.
Rep. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, however, said all that is irrelevant to the question of a woman's right to know her options.
"This does not say it will work," said Mesnard of the reversal.
"It does not say you should do it," he continued. "I don't see any harm in saying it might be possible."
The provision is just half of what SB 1318 would do.
It also says that women who get their health insurance through the federal Affordable Care Act cannot get separate coverage for elective abortions.
House Majority Leader Steve Montenegro, R-Litchfield Park, said 90 percent of individuals who obtain such coverage are getting their premiums subsidized. He said this ensures that public funds are not used to subsidize the procedure.
Rep. Stefanie Mach, D-Tucson, said that ignores the fact that the abortion coverage comes only with a separate "rider" — and a separate premium. Mesnard, however, brushed that argument aside.
"We all know how accounting gimmicks work," he said. "We have used them down here for a long time," referring to various maneuvers to declare the state's budget "balanced" by moving money around and even delaying payment of bills due into a new fiscal year.
Mesnard said that's what's going on here.