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North Dakota Senate votes to require 'abortion reversal' notification, sending bill to Burgum

The North Dakota State Capitol. Forum News Service file photo

BISMARCK — North Dakota senators voted to require physicians to inform women that it may be possible to reverse a drug-induced abortion if they change their mind Friday, March 15, despite warnings that the claim isn't backed by science.

The Senate's 34-11 vote sends House Bill 1336 to Gov. Doug Burgum. It's one of two major abortion bills making their way through the Republican-controlled Legislature this session.

A lawmaker who supported the proposal called it a "women's right to know bill."

“The language in this bill is informational only, it is a notification only, giving the woman the full information she needs to make her own decision if she regrets her choice within a short period of time,” said Sen. Janne Myrdal, R-Edinburg. “It is only a notice. It is not medical advice.”

Proponents have said women can undo the abortion process by taking the hormone progesterone after the first of two drugs used in a medical abortion. A major women's health care professionals group, however, has said claims around abortion reversal aren’t based on science.

“I cannot support a law that requires possibly questionable information to be given to patients,” said Fargo Republican Sen. Kristin Roers, who is a nurse. “Would we require this if it were any other medical procedure with this level of evidence?”

Four states have similar laws, including South Dakota, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights group.

Tammi Kromenaker, the head of the state's sole abortion clinic, previously said the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo won’t perform an abortion when a patient is uncertain of her decision. A little more than a fourth of the clinic’s patients received a medical abortion in 2018, she said earlier this session.

The Senate is also poised to consider a bill outlawing an abortion procedure commonly used in the second trimester of a pregnancy.

A spokesman for Burgum declined to comment on the abortion reversal bill. The Republican governor doesn't generally comment on bills before they reach his desk.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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