Legislative Update

Abortion Pill Reversal Information Act: ½ Round Down, 2½ to Go

By Tom Venzor 

When the Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on the Abortion Pill Reversal Information Act (LB209), they heard from two medical professionals in particular. One of those professionals was a Lincoln OB-GYN,

Dr. Robert Plambeck. If you’ve delivered a child in Lincoln, there is a chance Dr. Plambeck was your OB-GYN. After all, Dr. Plambeck has delivered more than 4,000 babies since 1991.

Dr. Plambeck wrote a letter to the the Judiciary Committee, as he was unavailable due to surgery to appear in person. Dr. Plambeck shared two noteworthy points.

First, he discussed Nebraska’s major shift in abortions in recent years. He recognized that over half of all abortions in Nebraska are now the product of chemically induced abortions, rather than surgical abortions.
These chemically induced abortions are administered via a two-pill process, which can be administered up to 10 weeks into the pregnancy. The first pill (mifepristone) blocks progesterone, a natural pregnancy hormone, from sustaining a healthy pregnancy. The second pill (misoprostol), consumed one to two days later, expels the unborn child. Mifepristone alone is capable of effectively causing a successful abortion 60-80% of the time, while consuming misoprostol makes the process nearly 100% effective.

Second, Dr. Plambeck shared that women do change their mind about abortion. Unsurprisingly, between the first and second pill, mothers sometimes decide they no longer want to continue the abortion process. In expressing this fact, Dr. Plambeck discussed research about a protocol that reverses the effects of the first pill, mifepristone, through the administration of high-dose progesterone.

The science behind this process—also known as the abortion pill reversal process—is simple. To out-compete the progesterone-blocking mifepristone, high-dose progesterone is given. Studies demonstrate that high-dose progesterone gives mothers a three times higher likelihood that they can continue their pregnancy than if they had never taken the progesterone. This translates to a success rate of around 65%.

His medical expertise on the abortion pill and the abortion pill reversal process was critical to laying the scientific foundations for the Judiciary Committee’s consideration of the bill, but it paled in comparison to the most important aspect of his testimony. The most important aspect was the personal testimony that Dr. Plambeck provided about the six successful abortion pill reversals he has administered in recent years.

He noted that all six patients successfully delivered full-term, healthy babies. One patient successfully delivered twins. In short, not only was the high-dose progesterone effective in maintaining a singleton pregnancy, but was successful in maintaining a twin delivery—an accomplished feat, considering the higher levels of progesterone needed for a twin pregnancy.

Dr. Plambeck’s testimony, along with the testimony of Teresa Kenney (a women’s health nurse practitioner in Omaha), were at the crux of the Unicameral’s recent debate on LB209 earlier this week.

For three hours, the Nebraska Legislature began debating the merits of whether every mother who goes in for the abortion pill process in Nebraska should be made aware—as a matter of informed consent—that mifepristone alone does not always result in a successful abortion. And that, in such cases, further medical assistance is available to assist in the continuation of a pregnancy, if so desired.

In other words, LB209 provides for what the introducing Senator, Joni Albrecht, calls a pro-life, pro-information, pro-science, and, yes, a pro-choice policy, as it empowers mothers with the medically accurate information they need to have a second chance at choosing life, if they come to regret their initial decision of abortion. A decision that has been successful for nearly 600 unborn children, and that count is increasing by the day.

While there has been three hours of debate, three more hours remain before the Legislature can take a first-round vote on LB209. At which point, assuming a successful vote, the Legislature will have two rounds of debate remaining. This means ample time remains for you and me to advocate on behalf of the unborn and to help empower mothers who want a second chance at life. It is my prayer that you’ll look up your State Senator at www.nebraskalegislature.gov and make that phone call or write that e-mail to encourage your representative to support LB209. Let us never weary of promoting the culture of life!

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