No evidence to support so-called “abortion reversal”

Opponents of abortion have pushed a controversial treatment, so-called “abortion reversal.” It is designed for women who change their minds about having an abortion after taking the first of two pills in a medication abortion, and consists of multiple doses of the hormone progesterone. Arkansas, Idaho, South Dakota and Utah require abortion providers to give patients information about this experimental therapy.

In a commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine, ANSIRH’s Daniel Grossman and the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Kari White make it clear that there is no evidence to support the effectiveness of “abortion reversal.” They previously reviewed the literature and found that administering progesterone, the key treatment in “abortion reversal” therapy, after a patient has taken mifepristone was no more likely to help continue a pregnancy than doing nothing at all.

Grossman and White also question the demand for “abortion reversal.” The argument in favor of the untested treatment is based on a common myth that many women are unsure about their decision to have an abortion. ANSIRH research has shown that the overwhelming majority of women are very certain about having an abortion when they present for care. Mandating that physicians give patients information about an unproven therapy is a dangerous intrusion into the patient-provider relationship.