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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah lawmakers backed a proposal Friday that would require doctors to inform women that drug-induced abortions may be halted halfway through, despite physicians saying there's little evidence or science to back up that idea.
Republican Rep. Keven Stratton of Orem, who sponsors the measure, told members of a House judiciary committee that the plan would give people more information about their options.
Proponents of the idea said doctors can give a woman the hormone progesterone to stop an abortion after she has taken the first of two medications needed to complete the procedure.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has said that there is no medically accepted evidence that a drug-induced abortion can be interrupted.
A medication-induced abortion requires taking two pills. The first is mifepristone, which blocks progesterone and breaks down the lining of the uterus. The second pill is misoprostol, which causes the body to undergo changes similar to a miscarriage.
Democratic Rep. Brian King spoke against the plan, calling it "micro-managing medicine."
"I am concerned about the fact that what we're doing here is crossing a line to promote information that simply isn't based on peer-reviewed clinical trials," he said.
With committee approval Friday, the measure now advances to the full House of Representatives for debate.
Arizona passed a similar law in 2015 but it was repealed after Planned Parenthood took the issue to court, arguing that the new law violates abortion providers' First Amendment rights by forcing them to repeat a state-mandated message against their medical judgment.
Kathryn Jones-Porter, a Salt Lake City resident, told lawmakers that when she went to get an abortion, she was repeatedly asked by staff members if she needed more information. "It seems to me that people are already getting this information. I know I did."
Another Utah abortion law passed last year requires doctors to somehow administer anesthesia or painkillers to a fetus before an abortion, based on the disputed premise that a fetus can feel pain at that stage. Doctors said they didn't know how to comply with the law because it wasn't based on science.
Dr. Leah Torres, a Salt Lake City obstetrician-gynecologist, said Friday that the new abortion restriction, like last year's law, is a violation of medical ethics, doctor-patient relationships and is not based in science.
"Once again the Utah legislature is possibly planning on pedaling more snake oil," she said, "requiring physicians to again lie to patients by telling them that medical abortions can be reversed."
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