- A federal judge in Denver denied a Catholic medical center’s bid to block Colorado from banning an unproven treatment meant to reverse the effects of a medication abortion drug.
- The state is giving its medical licensing boards until October to determine whether the treatment is a “generally accepted standard of practice.” Until then, the ban will not be enforced.
Bella Health and Wellness, a Catholic medical center, has been denied a bid to block Colorado from implementing a ban on an unproven treatment meant to reverse the effects of a medication abortion drug.
The Ban on Unproven Abortion Treatment
The decision was made by US District Judge Daniel Domenico, who stated that there was no immediate threat to the center as the state had declared it would not enforce the ban for now. Therefore, the judge did not address the merits of the case.
Controversy Surrounding Medication Abortion Reversal Treatment
Medication abortion begins with the drug mifepristone, which blocks the action of the hormone progesterone, essential for sustaining a pregnancy, and is completed with a second drug, misoprostol.
The medication abortion reversal treatment involves administering a high dose of progesterone if a woman changes her mind after taking mifepristone but before taking misoprostol. However, there are no large controlled studies to prove the safety and efficacy of this treatment.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has also stated that its safety and efficacy are unsupported.
- On April 14, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a law that would subject healthcare practitioners who perform medication abortion reversal to discipline unless the state’s medical licensing boards determine that treatment is a “generally accepted standard of practice.”
- They could also potentially lose their licenses.
- The law gives the boards until October to make that determination and issue formal rules, and the state has stated that it will not enforce the ban until the rule-making process is complete.
Bella Health and Wellness filed a lawsuit alleging that the law violated the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of the free exercise of religion, free speech, and equal protection. However, the judge did not address the case’s merits as the center was not threatened immediately. Rebekah Ricketts, a lawyer with the conservative legal group Becket Fund for Religious Liberty representing Bella, said in an email that their clients were pleased that they could continue caring for women who ask for help after taking the first abortion pill.
Legal Battles Over Mifepristone and Access To Abortion
Mifepristone is the subject of a contentious legal battle, with anti-abortion groups pushing to remove it from the market, while Democratic lawmakers aim to protect it.
In addition, a maker of the drug is challenging state restrictions in West Virginia, and a group of doctors is challenging similar restrictions in North Carolina. Republican state legislatures have also taken measures to restrict access to the medication