Enforcement of Colorado’s first in the nation ban on abortion-reversal treatment put on hold

By Dave Andrusko

Colorado has the highly dubious distinction of being the first state in the nation to pass a bill banning abortion pill reversal which Gov. Jared Polis signed into law on April 14. Hours later a judge issued a temporary restraining order on Senate Bill 23-190 while arguments pro and con play out in court. Subsequently, last Saturday, the judge granted the clinic a 14-day protection against enforcement of the ban.

The law “states that a health care provider is subject to discipline if they engage in medication abortion reversal, unless those boards find it is a generally accepted standard of practice,” according to Nick  Coltrain. “The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has said abortion medication reversal is not supported by science.”

SB 190 “immediately outlawed abortion poll reversal by making it ‘unprofessional conduct’ until at least Oct. 1,” Jesse Paul reported. “The state’s medical board, pharmacy board and nursing board would have until then to decide, in consultation with each other, whether abortion reversal meets the threshold of being a ‘generally accepted standard of practice.’ If they decide it does not, then the ban remains in place.”

However, all that was put on hold, at least for now, by Judge Daniel Domenico. Bella Health and Wellness, a Catholic health care clinic, had “argued the law violates its First Amendment rights and religious freedoms, and that its immediate enforcement would interrupt ongoing patient care,” the Denver Post reported. In the order Judge Domenico wrote that the “plaintiffs have made a sufficient showing that Senate Bill (190) burdens their own First Amendment rights.”

The Associated Press’s Colleen Slevin wrote Colorado is promising not to enforce its new ban

Until state regulators go through a process to determine if they should be allowed.

In court filings Thursday responding to U.S. District Daniel Domenico’s temporary restraining order, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser revealed that the state’s medical and nursing boards had met behind closed doors this week and voted not to enforce the ban until they conduct a rulemaking process on the treatments. That will not be completed until September, he said. In the meantime, Bella Health will not face any enforcement of the ban and therefore does not have grounds to challenge the law, he said.

Domenico is scheduled to hold a hearing today

to consider whether he should extend the ban on enforcement of the law against the clinic, Bella Health & Wellness.

Rebekah Ricketts, an attorney at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty representing the clinic, said Friday it and the women it serves need protection from the law, which she said was unconstitutional.

“The Attorney General is now running scared because the Colorado legislature decided to shoot first and ask questions later,” Ricketts said in a statement.

 “It could be several months — possibly stretching into early fall — before the Colorado Medical Board and the state boards of pharmacy and nursing finalize those rules,” Slevin reported.

Meanwhile, Colorado regulators and prosecuting attorneys  announced in a court filing last Thursday “will not enforce a newly passed ban on so-called abortion-reversal treatment until rules governing the medication are written.”