Emotion drives testimony on 2 ND abortion bills

Published: Jan. 21, 2019 at 10:15 PM CST
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Legislative proposals to restrict abortions in one way or another in North Dakota come up regularly during each legislative session.

Two bill hearings were packed Monday's House Human Services committee. HB1546 would ban what's called human dismemberment abortions.According to testimony, 28 percent of Red River Women's Clinic abortions in 2018 were medication induced.

House bill 1336 would mandate including information about reversing a medication-induced abortion. It's this bill that's driving the debate.

"There's no credible, medically accepted evidence that a medication evidence can be reversed," said Tammi Kromenaker, Red River Women's Clinic director.

The debate on House Bill 1336 went from ideology to scrutiny of medical studies and which side is right, each side getting more passionate defending their position. Then McKenzie McCoy came to the podium and silenced the room.

"I really wish I would have had the knowledge that there could have been a possibility to reverse it and save my child," said McCoy.

McCoy had a medication-induced abortion. The procedure uses two drugs. The first one gradually deprives the fetus of nutrients and eventually kills it. The second drug forces labor and expels the fetus. Supporters of HB 1336 say you can try and reverse the abortion after the first drug by using the hormone progesterone.

"It's known to be safe. It's been used for 40 years or more in early pregnancy to prevent miscarriage," said Nadia Smetana, Dakota Hope Clinic clinical director.

But many, including the American Medical Association, aren't convinced and haven't published the studies.

"With any medical procedure, we want science backing it up so we know what the risks and what the benefits are. So the compromise is getting more science," said Kristi Wolff, ND Women's Network director.

McCoy, now a mother of three, says if she'd known about a possible reversal, she would have taken it.

Kromenaker testified if a women is ever unsure, they urge them to take more time to think about it and the clinic doesn't preform abortions on patients who says they're uncertain of their decisions.