National News

New York AG Sues Pro-Life Groups Over Abortion Pill Reversal Claims

A box containing a mifepristone tablet is pictured in a 2023 photo. (Photo: OSV News/Callaghan O’Hare, Reuters)

WASHINGTON — New York Attorney General Letitia James sued Heartbeat International, a pro-life group, and 11 crisis pregnancy centers in the state May 6, saying they are misleading women with their claims of a treatment that could reverse the effects of the abortion pill mifepristone.

In the lawsuit, James asked a state court to block these centers and Heartbeat International from promoting abortion pill reversals on their websites, social media, and materials.

“Abortions cannot be reversed,” James said in a statement. “Any treatments that claim to do so are made without scientific evidence and could be unsafe.”

Heartbeat International along with crisis pregnancy centers in the state, represented by the Thomas More Society, filed a lawsuit the week before James’ lawsuit was issued in an attempt to block the attorney general’s action.

The groups were responding to letters of its intention to sue that James’ office sent April 22 to centers that give information about abortion pill reversals. 

In their lawsuit, the pro-life groups said the attorney general’s threatened litigation sought to illegally silence them from sharing what they described as a science-based, life-affirming message about the benefits, success, effectiveness, and safety of abortion pill reversals.

A statement by Heartbeat International after the May 6 lawsuit said the attorney general’s action was a “clear attempt to censor speech, leaving women who regret their chemical abortions in the dark, and ultimately forcing them to complete an abortion they no longer want.”

Proponents of medication abortion reversal say the effects of mifepristone, the first part of a two-drug regimen used for medication abortion, can be blocked by a high dose of the hormone progesterone. 

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has said this method is not supported by science and notes on its website that there have been no controlled clinical trials showing that this is safe or effective.

The New York lawsuit was issued while the U.S. Supreme Court is considering its opinion about the availability of mifepristone nationwide.

It also follows a trend from other states. Last September, California’s attorney general filed a similar lawsuit against Heartbeat International and crisis pregnancy centers. 

A month later, a federal judge ruled that Colorado could not ban abortion pill reversal treatment and a judge in Kansas blocked a state law that would have required health care providers to tell patients that medication abortion can be reversed.