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California Attorney General Sues Pro-Life Groups Over Abortion Reversal Claims

California Attorney General Sues Pro-Life Groups Over Abortion Reversal Claims

California Attorney General Rob Bonta speaks during a news conference in San Francisco on Nov. 15, 2021. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Sophie Li

Sophie Li

9/26/2023

Updated: 9/26/2023

California Attorney General Rob Bonta Sept. 21 announced a lawsuit against two organizations over their alleged “fraudulent and misleading” advertisement of a procedure called abortion pill reversal (APR).
The lawsuit claims Heartbeat International, a nationwide pro-life organization, and RealOptions Obria, a group of five crisis pregnancy centers in Northern California, promoted this procedure as a reliable means to reverse a medical abortion and sustain the pregnancy. According to the attorney general’s office, APR was advertised as safe and effective despite a lack of scientific evidence.
“That’s why our office has launched a lawsuit to fight on behalf of patients, who deserve truthful, accurate, and complete information about the services they are receiving. We seek to stop the defendants from further disseminating their lies and deceptive statements,” according to an email statement from the attorney general’s (AG) office sent to The Epoch Times.
According to a RealOptions spokesperson, the AG’s office did not provide any prior notification to the group before initiating the lawsuit.
“We disagree with the allegations in this lawsuit ... which the California AG never gave us an opportunity to address before filing the action, and we look forward to addressing and refuting them in court,” Chief Executive Officer Valerie Hill told The Epoch Times.
In a statement, Heartbeat International said their organization was likewise not informed about the lawsuit until after Mr. Bonta’s press conference on Thursday.
“Through our Abortion Pill Rescue Network hotline, we know that some women almost immediately regret their chemical abortion choice,” according the statement. “These women deserve the right to try and save their pregnancies. No woman should ever be forced to complete an abortion she no longer wants.”
Bottles of abortion pills mifepristone (L) and misoprostol (R) at a clinic in Des Moines, Iowa, on Sept. 22, 2010. (Charlie NeibergallAP Photo)

Bottles of abortion pills mifepristone (L) and misoprostol (R) at a clinic in Des Moines, Iowa, on Sept. 22, 2010. (Charlie NeibergallAP Photo)

Medication abortion, which was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2000, now typically involves a two-drug combination—mifepristone and misoprostol—taken within 24 to 48 hours of each other to end a pregnancy.
According to information posted on the RealOptions website, as well as links from both organizations’ websites to the Abortion Pill Rescue Network, which describes itself as “a team of over 1,000 healthcare professionals,” the abortion pill reversal procedure can be started within 24 to 72 hours after the initial consumption of mifepristone, the first step in medication abortion.
Patients are given an ultrasound to ensure the fetus is viable and instructed to take progesterone, a naturally occurring hormone essential for nurturing and maintaining a pregnancy, to counteract the effect of the abortion pill, according to the website.
However, Mr. Bonta said in a press release that APR is “an unproven and largely experimental procedure.”
“While medication abortion has been proven by decades of research to be exceedingly safe and reliable, no credible research so far has supported the safety or efficacy of APR,” he said.
Additionally, he said the organizations failed to mention potential side effects, such as severe bleeding, for those who attempt the procedure.
A woman looks at an abortion pill—mifepristone—displayed on a smartphone in Arlington, Va., on May 8, 2020. (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)

A woman looks at an abortion pill—mifepristone—displayed on a smartphone in Arlington, Va., on May 8, 2020. (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)

In contrast, Ms. Hill said the medication employed in APR has a decades-long history in medical usage and is considered “safe and effective.”
“Progesterone ... is a tried-and-true medication [used] for decades since the 1950s for repeated miscarriage,” she said.
In a 2023 review conducted by Paul DeBeasi, bioethics author and former chief of research at consulting firm Gartner, an analysis of several studies found, “Two-thirds of the women who changed their minds and received progesterone after initiating their medication abortion with mifepristone could safely continue their pregnancies.”
The review continued saying, “Physicians should disclose this treatment option to their patients at the time of informed consent.”
Both organizations said they have yet to receive official notice regarding the allegations.
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Sophie Li

Sophie Li

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Sophie Li is a Southern California-based reporter covering local daily news, state policies, and breaking news for The Epoch Times. Besides writing, she is also passionate about reading, photography, and tennis.

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