Colorado adopted a first-of-its-kind law that would restrict the ability of physicians to discuss a treatment for women who are having second thoughts about a chemically induced abortion. The new law restricts progesterone treatment, a popular method to reverse a chemical abortion, and forbids physicians from even informing them that such a treatment exists.
This law is the mirror image of legislative proposals in red states that would allow individuals to take civil legal action with high punitive awards against anyone who helps or informs women about obtaining abortions in other states. Whether the intent is pro-abortion or anti-abortion, or the state red or blue, the deployment of penalties, fines, and lawsuits to try to shut up physicians and friends violates the First Amendment.
For this good reason, Protect The 1st opposes any such laws that violate the First Amendment by micromanaging physicians’ speech. Objections to the regulation of speech is the prime reason why Colorado Catholic clinic Bella Health and Wellness is going to court to overturn the Colorado law. Bella Health is suing the state because it feels "religiously compelled” to offer this treatment.
Here's the backstory: chemical abortions occur when pregnant women take two pills — mifepristone and misoprostol — back-to-back over the course of up to 48 hours. The first, mifepristone, blocks the body’s production of progesterone, a naturally-occurring hormone that is essential to the maintenance of a healthy pregnancy. The second, misoprostol, causes cramping and bleeding to empty a woman’s uterus, which is described as “very similar to an early miscarriage.”
While the use of mifepristone and misoprostol is one of the most common means used to terminate a pregnancy, some women reconsider their choice after taking the first pill. To counteract its effects, many healthcare providers offer progesterone treatment, which can sometimes work by providing enough progesterone to maintain the pregnancy.
According to Becket, the law firm that represents Bella Health, the Colorado law targets pro-life clinics like Bella by making it illegal to offer women progesterone. Bella can offer the hormone to women in any other circumstance but not if the purpose is to reverse the effects of an abortion pill. If Bella continues to offer and advertise progesterone for women who seek to reverse an abortion, the healthcare provider faces up to $20,000 per violation and the loss of the medical licenses of its providers.
The case of Bella Health will appear before Judge Daniel D. Domenico, who has placed a temporary restraining order on enforcement of the law.
Any law that seeks to gag healthcare providers and punish them for observing their deeply held convictions – whether pro- or anti-abortion – violates the First Amendment. Not only do doctors lose their freedoms when government dictates what they can or cannot say, such laws also deprive patients of their right to choose the best treatment plan for themselves.
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