Colorado Medical Board changes course, says doctors providing abortion pill reversal may be ‘disciplined’

Colorado Medical Board changes course, says doctors providing abortion pill reversal may be ‘disciplined’ (Karolina Grabowska/Pexels)

(Live Action) The Colorado State Medical Board ruled on Thursday that doctors in the state who provide abortion pill reversal treatment to women will be operating outside of the “generally accepted standard of practice” and therefore will be subject to investigation by the board. Just a week prior, the board said it would evaluate the use of abortion pill reversal on a case-by-case basis rather than deeming its use “unprofessional conduct.”

The issue arose after Gov. Jared Polis signed a first-in-the-nation law to ban abortion pill reversal, which is the administration of progesterone to counter the effects of the first drug of the abortion pill regimen, mifepristone. Progesterone has been safely used for decades to help prevent miscarriage in women who have a history of miscarriage. Mifepristone functions by blocking progesterone during pregnancy, and therefore, some physicians have chosen to administer progesterone to counter the drug’s effects when a woman regrets her decision to take the drug.

Polis and those behind the anti-reversal bill wanted the medical board to deem abortion pill reversal as “unprofessional conduct” by any doctor who prescribes it. The board, however, did not label the process as such but did say it will review reported instances of abortion pill reversal on a case-by-case basis.

“Although the board will not treat medication abortion reversal as a per se act of unprofessional misconduct, the board does not consider administering, dispensing or delivering progesterone with the intent to interfere with, reverse, or halt a medication abortion through the use of mifepristone to meet generally accepted standards of medical practice,” its new rule states.

“Licensees are expected to practice evidence-based medicine, and any licensee who provides unscientific treatments that fall below the generally accepted standard of care may be subjected to discipline.”

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According to the Colorado Sun, the decision is reported to be out of the norm for the board, which does not tend to create rules about a standard of care for a single treatment but rather investigates complaints about a doctor’s standard of care.

The decision to both label abortion pill reversal as outside of the “generally accepted standard of practice” while simultaneously saying it would review its use on a case-by-case base appeared to be contradictory to some.

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The board’s counsel, first assistant attorney general Ashley Moller asked the board, “Are you making a determination right now, right here that when someone gives progesterone following the administration of mifepristone, it is not generally accepted standards of practice? If that’s what you’re deciding, then you don’t need your case-by-case language.”

While pro-abortion groups celebrated the ruling, pro-life organizations including Save the Storks responded that the decision will leave women who immediately regret taking the abortion pill without the option of trying to save their baby. “As a Colorado-based organization known for our nearly 100 mobile medical units, Save the Storks is shocked and disappointed that the medical board in Colorado thinks that abortion reversal should not be an option for women,” said CEO of Save the Storks Diane Ferraro. “If we are truly looking to give women choices, then this is a step in the opposite direction. Through our partnerships with others that offer life-affirming programs and services that empower women, we know this decision is devastating for humanity and the citizens of Colorado.”

Likewise, Dr. Karysse Trandem, national medical director of women’s healthcare for Save the Storks, said, “The Colorado Medical Board’s decision to prevent doctors from offering appropriate treatment to patients who ask to reverse their abortion is a tragic misuse of the Board’s position in the name of pro-abortion politics. Colorado healthcare providers and patients alike deserve much better. Abortion pill reversal is safe, effective, and an important part of women’s healthcare used across the U.S. and worldwide.”

The abortion pill works through the use of two drugs: mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone is taken first and it acts to block the naturally occurring pregnancy hormone progesterone. Misoprostol, taken up to 48 hours later, causes contractions to expel the baby. Planned Parenthood explains, “Mifepristone works by blocking the hormone progesterone. Without progesterone, the lining of the uterus breaks down and the pregnancy cannot continue.”

Progesterone can be taken up to 72 hours after the woman takes mifepristone (the sooner the better) and prior to the administration of misoprostol in an attempt to counteract the effects of mifepristone, which is trying to block the mother’s natural progesterone. If successful, the administration of progesterone will overcome the mifepristone. It is reported to have saved more than [4,500] lives to date.

In 2012, the pioneer behind the life-saving abortion pill reversal protocol, Dr. George Delgado, published an article in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy, along with his colleague Dr. Mary Davenport, following the progress of seven women who participated in the abortion pill reversal process. That research was followed up with peer-reviewed research conducted in 2018 and published in Issues in Law and Medicine. This study followed 754 patients and found a 68% success rate of abortion pill reversal.

Editor's note: This article was published by Live Action News and is reprinted with permission. Heartbeat International manages the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network (APRN) and Pregnancy Help News.

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