2024 Election

California Aiming To Shut Down The Option of Abortion Pill Reversal

California has taken yet another alarming stride toward backing women into unwanted abortions, this time with a lawsuit that aims to shut down the option of abortion pill reversal. This life-saving process offers an option for women who wish to exercise their fundamental right to carry their pregnancies to term, even after initially choosing to begin the chemical abortion process.

On Sept. 21, 2023, California Attorney General Rob Bonta sued Heartbeat International and its affiliate RealOptions, alleging that they had engaged in “false or misleading statements” and “unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent business practices” by offering women the option of APR. The lawsuit seeks to deal a devastating blow to the Abortion Pill Rescue Network, a ministry of Heartbeat, which educates women on the APR process and connects them to this life-saving treatment if they so desire. The lawsuit also aims to stop RealOptions clinics from providing information about APR.

Every woman deserves to know the truth about her options, and she does not forfeit that right simply because she started the chemical abortion process. Bonta clearly disagrees with this viewpoint, and he is wielding his power to try to silence Heartbeat’s life-saving message and intimidate its affiliates.

Bonta consistently has expressed disdain for life-affirming pregnancy centers and the hope they provide to women. From issuing a “consumer alert warning” to disparaging pregnancy help organizations, the attorney general opposes those offering life-affirming support to pregnant women. In this, he is aligned with pro-abortion allies, including Planned Parenthood and Reproductive Justice for All, formerly NARAL, by labeling any speech that challenges the pro-abortion narrative as “untrue” and “deceptive” and seeking to stifle it under the guise of government oversight.

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The irony, of course, is that California’s own complaint accusing Heartbeat of false and deceptive speech is chock-full of false and deceptive accusations.

The complaint relies heavily on a 2019 study led by Dr. Mitchell Creinin, a paid consultant for Danco Laboratories, the distributor of the first abortion pill, mifepristone. The study, involving 12 women, showed promising results for APR, with four out of five babies in the progesterone group maintaining heartbeats at the two-week assessment. However, the complaint selectively cites headlines that misrepresent the study’s conclusions, failing to acknowledge the raw data supporting APR.

The timing of this complaint is crucial, as chemical abortions now account for well over half of all abortions in the United States. More than 75% of women reaching out to the Abortion Pill Rescue Network do so within 24 hours of taking the first abortion pill, highlighting the urgency of providing truthful information about options.

Following Bonta’s lawsuit announcement, Heartbeat’s network experienced a threefold increase in women seeking APR services.

Abortion pill reversal involves the administration of progesterone, a crucial hormone necessary for a pregnancy to thrive, and the very hormone that mifepristone seeks to cut off. Progesterone is FDA-approved for miscarriages and pre-term birth and has been used safely with pregnant women and their babies since the 1950s. To date, statistics show more than 5,000 women have had successful abortion pill reversals, and that number grows higher each day.

But Bonta demands that Heartbeat abandon its God-given duty to serve women who immediately regret their initial chemical abortion decision, cease and desist from sharing true and accurate information about APR, and be subject to crippling civil penalties that could number in the millions.

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Let me be clear: This lawsuit is a serious threat not only to APR but to the pregnancy help movement at large and, most importantly, to the millions of women it serves.

The lawsuit is an intentional move to intimidate and silence advocates of life-affirming, compassionate options and to withhold critical life-saving information from women. If Bonta succeeds in punishing Heartbeat for uttering words with which he disagrees, merely by labeling them “deceptive” or “misleading,” the message to pregnancy centers across California and in other states with officials who are hostile to their ministries will be very clear: “We will use the levers of government to punish you for speaking your disfavored message.”

This is not a battle that Heartbeat wanted, but it is one that we must and will fight on behalf of the many women desperately seeking a last chance to choose life.

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Ella Ford is a mother of two, a Christian conservative writer with degrees in American History, Social and Behavioral Science and Liberal Studies, based in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area.

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