Earlier this year, the North Dakota Legislature passed into law H.B. 1336. This law required abortionists to tell women seeking an abortion that “it may be possible to reverse the effects of an abortion-inducing drug if she changes her mind.” The law also required that a mother be given information that, if she chose, would connect her with local medical professionals who could help her counteract the effects of abortion-inducing drugs and increase the chances of saving her baby.
If this law sounds familiar, it is because it is. Earlier this year, the Nebraska State Legislature passed a similar law, which went into effect at the end of August.
Unfortunately for North Dakota, their law was immediately challenged in court by the American Medical Association, which teamed up with North Dakota’s one remaining abortion mill, Red River Women’s Clinic. They argued that the law compelled physicians to speak against their will in violation of the protections afforded by the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The federal court judge hearing the case ruled that H.B. 1336 unconstitutionally required physicians to speak a message that was untruthful, misleading, and irrelevant, thereby violating the free speech rights of abortionists. The law was enjoined by the judge, meaning it was prevented from going into effect until a final judgment on the law could be determined.
The ruling in this case raises two fundamental problems:
First, it is not untruthful, misleading, or irrelevant to provide information to a mother seeking an abortion that an abortion-inducing drug’s effects can be reversed.
In Nebraska, as we passed a similar law, we heard the testimony of a mother, Rebekah Hagan. Rebekah shared her story of redemption and hope after making the decision to take the abortion pill drugs. After taking the first pill (of two), Rebekah realized the tragic mistake she had made to induce the abortion of her unborn son.
To remedy this mistake, Rebekah was able to contact a local physician who provided her the necessary medical assistance to reverse her abortion. The physician prescribed high-dose progesterone to reverse the effects of the first pill, mifepristone, which acts as a progesterone-receptor blocker and depletes the natural hormone necessary for maintaining a healthy, viable pregnancy. The high-dose progesterone regimen successfully reversed the first abortion pill and resulted in the birth of Rebekah’s son, Zechariah.
As Teresa Kenney, a local women’s healthcare nurse practitioner, said to Catholic News Agency during an interview about the injunction of the North Dakota law: “If I give medicine that decreases or blocks progesterone to stop a pregnancy, then it makes perfect logical medical sense to give progesterone to help reverse that[.]” While acknowledging the need for more research, Kenney emphatically stated that the progesterone treatments do no harm to the mother and, in fact, have the ability to save two lives: “you save the baby, and that’s a human life being saved… but you also save the life of the mother in the sense that when she has made a choice that she deeply regrets, and we have now given her the opportunity to emotionally and physically change that choice, and it succeeds, we’ve save her life too.”
Second, the judge’s opinion further revealed the fundamental flaws contained in our country’s abortion case law.
While our case law purports to empower and guarantee a woman’s so-called “right to choose” abortion for her child, the case law at the same time forbids laws that help mothers to choose life if she has started down the path to abortion but changes her mind. In other words, the case law under Roe v. Wade is perpetually tipped in favor of abortion, to the extent that a federal judge would rule that a law requiring abortionists to give mothers potentially life-saving information—information they desire—is forbidden by the U.S. Constitution.
But all of this is unsurprising given the false and illogical foundations upon which Roe v. Wade is founded: the misconception that the unborn child has no right to life and is of no value. It is predictable that absurd and evil consequences—like the suppression of truthful information—would result from such a faulty misunderstanding of the dignity of the human person.
The beauty, though, is that the Truth can never be completely suppressed. The Truth always seeks to be unleashed, to set us free. Let us continue praying, fasting, and acting toward the reversal of Roe v. Wade—and to make abortion unthinkable in Nebraska and throughout our country!