Heartbeat International fights back against California’s attempt to quash women’s choice to continue their pregnancies

By Lisa Bourne

Just a few of the lives saved by Abortion Pill Reversal Photo: Heartbeat International

The world’s largest network of pregnancy help pushed back in court today against pro-abortion government attempts to stifle providing women the choice to continue their pregnancy if they’ve begun a chemical abortion. 

Heartbeat International and attorneys from Thomas More Society say California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s lawsuit against Heartbeat and affiliated RealOptions Obria Medical Clinics over Abortion Pill Reversal amounts to shilling for the abortion lobby and call the claims therein “outrageously false.”

With more than half of all abortions in the U.S. now chemical abortions, Abortion Pill Reversal (APR) has become the antidote for women who experience regret after starting the chemical abortion process – and it has become the object of attack on the part of abortion proponents who often attempt to defame the protocol as unsafe.

Bonta sued Heartbeat International and California’s RealOptions Obria Medical Clinics last fall to bar both from “advertising Abortion Pill Reversal as safe and effective.”

The APR protocol is a medical intervention available to women who have started a chemical abortion, change their minds, and choose to pursue keeping their pregnancy through reversal of their chemical abortion. It consists of providing supplemental progesterone to counteract the anti-progesterone effects of mifepristone, the first pill of the two-pill chemical abortion regimen.

Heartbeat, which has around 3,500 affiliates worldwide and more than a 50-year history of supporting women and families through pregnancy help, provides referrals to medical providers for women who are seeking to reverse their chemical abortions through the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network (APRN), which includes more than 1,400 healthcare professionals, pregnancy centers and hospitals. RealOptions Obria Medical Clinics is among the providers.

Thousands of lives have been saved through Abortion Pill Reversal, the latest statistics showing that more than 5,000 lives have been saved through APR and counting.

Heartbeat International and RealOptions asked a California Superior Court to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Bonta against them over their advocacy for APR. 

Legal non-profit Thomas More Society (TMS) filed hundreds of pages of argument and evidence on behalf of Heartbeat and RealOptions in what TMS called “the most comprehensive legal counterattack by the pro-life movement against recent legal maneuvers by state government officials like Bonta who are trying to interfere with and stop the efforts of pregnancy centers to help women who regret and want to reverse their chemical abortions.”

Heartbeat International President Jor-El Godsey denounced the effort to deprive women of the choice to try and sustain their pregnancy as deference to the abortion lobby.

“California should be more concerned with helping women who desperately want to continue their pregnancy,” Godsey said. “Targeting women’s opportunity to reverse their abortion is an obvious act of misusing the goodwill of taxpayer funding to shill for Big Abortion.”

Thomas More Society Executive Vice President and Head of Litigation Peter Breen criticized Bonta’s efforts to suppress the choice of women who no longer wish to continue their chemical abortion.

“Women undergoing chemical abortions deserve the truth,” Breen said. “Even after starting a chemical abortion, they may still be able to save their babies.” 

“California and its Attorney General Rob Bonta are illegally and unconstitutionally seeking to rip away ‘choice’ from women in dire need by attacking pregnancy help ministries like Heartbeat and RealOptions, to shut down their promotion of Abortion Pill Reversal,” said Breen. “Abortion Pill Reversal provides real hope for women who want to stop their abortions and continue their pregnancies. 

“Today’s massive legal filings mark the most ambitious and broad-based counterattack by the pro-life movement against the efforts of state officials, like Rob Bonta, who intend to prevent women from accessing this potentially life-saving treatment option,” Breen added.

Thomas More Society Special Counsel Paul Jonna, Partner at LiMandri and Jonna LLP, called the claims in Bonta’s lawsuit false and an effort to bolster the abortion industry. 

“Despite overwhelming evidence of Abortion Pill Reversal services’ safety and effectiveness, this lawsuit makes outrageously false claims against Heartbeat International and RealOptions,” Jonna said. 

“Attorney General Bonta’s lawsuit aims to hide life-saving information from women regarding Abortion Pill Reversal,” he said. “This is a desperate attempt by Bonta to eliminate any competition to the well-funded abortion lobby with which he has proudly partnered throughout his political career.”

Thomas More Society’s statement gave background on the case and specifics of the Feb. 6 filings:

“Bonta’s aggressive campaign to dismantle Heartbeat International’s Abortion Pill Rescue Network and shut down RealOptions’ Abortion Pill Reversal services went public when he filed a Complaint for Permanent Injunction against both, along with 100 unnamed “Does,” on September 21, 2023, in the Alameda County Superior Court of California.”

In the February 6, 2024, filings Thomas More Society attorneys advance three main arguments:

(1) The First Amendment protects the advocacy efforts and information provided by Heartbeat and RealOptions to women about Abortion Pill Reversal.

(2) On Bonta’s claims, the Superior Court cannot decide a “battle of scientific experts” between Heartbeat’s scientific studies and Bonta’s competing studies on Abortion Pill Reversal.

(3) California’s Reproductive Privacy Act and its Constitution totally immunize Heartbeat and RealOptions, prohibiting Bonta from interfering with their aid and assistance to pregnant women who want to stop and reverse their chemical abortions.

Thomas More Society provided evidence to the Superior Court of the safety of supplemental progesterone for pregnant women and its effectiveness in countering the effects of mifepristone, in particular, that progesterone has been safely used by obstetrician-gynecologists for decades to combat miscarriage in pregnant women.

The pro-abortion effort to brand pregnancy help centers and medical clinics as “fake clinics” and other assorted disparagements has gone on for years but has accelerated since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision in 2022.

This is not the first assailing of pregnancy help by Bonta. 

Last fall he also led 16 state attorneys general in producing an open letter using well-worn abortion industry talking points to denigrate pregnancy centers despite plentiful evidence of the benefit pregnancy help brings to women and families. In 2022 Bonta issued a “consumer alert” “warning Californians” that pregnancy centers do not offer abortion.

Upon the release of the Dobbs ruling, Bonta pledged to protect abortion access, saying in a statement: “As Attorney General, I will use the full force of the law and the full authority of my office to protect reproductive healthcare for every person who seeks it in California. Abortion remains a legally protected right in our state and, in California, we won’t backslide.”

The Memoranda in support of Demurrers, on behalf of Heartbeat International and RealOptions, and of Motion to Quash Service, on behalf of Heartbeat International, filed February 6, 2024, by Thomas More Society attorneys in the Superior Court of the State of California – County of Alameda, in The People of the State of California v. Heartbeat International & RealOptions, can be viewed HERE.

The full collection of court documents filed February 6 is available HERE.

Editor’s note: Heartbeat International manages Pregnancy Help News where this first appeared. Reposted with permission.