Kansas lawmakers passed legislation Friday that would require doctors administering an abortion pill to tell women the process can be reversed.
Democrats object to the directive as government overreach that directly conflicts with medical professionals who say the reversal is unethical and rooted in unproven science.
Women can choose to terminate their pregnancy by first taking a drug that stops the pregnancy from growing, then following 48 hours later with a drug that empties their uterus.
Anti-abortion advocates promote limited research that says women can reverse the effects of the first pill by taking a drug typically used to prevent a miscarriage. Opponents question the effectiveness of the reversal and raise concerns about the possibility of introducing birth defects.
Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, R-Shawnee, said the required notification of the reversal option "simply gives the woman more information about what she can do."
Sen. Barbara Bollier, D-Mission Hills, said it was inappropriate to tell physicians how to practice medicine.
"We do not have any information to show scientifically that it absolutely could work, might work, whatever," Bollier said.
Republicans worked Friday afternoon to negotiate an agreement between the House and Senate, then both chambers passed the bill shortly before adjourning for a three-week break.
During negotiations, Bollier was able to secure an amendment that will require reporting on abortion pill reversals to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Doctors who administer the reversal drug will have to notify KDHE, alert the agency if the procedure fails, and report the status and health of a baby at the time of delivery.
Rep. John Eplee, R-Atchison, urged adoption of the legislation in the House. He said a study of 700 women in California indicated the abortion pill reversal was successful 64 percent of the time.
Rep. Boog Highberger, D-Lawrence, turned the tables on remarks Eplee made last month in an unrelated debate. Highberger quoted Eplee's words, saying they also should apply to the abortion debate.
"We as legislators should not be in the business of practicing medicine," Highberger said.