Pro-life group sues New York AG for using her power to silence pregnancy centers that promote abortion pill reversal

The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) filed a lawsuit Friday against the New York attorney general for working to censor pro-life pregnancy centers that advise women…

The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) filed a lawsuit Friday against the New York attorney general for working to censor pro-life pregnancy centers that advise women about the option of using progesterone to save their babies following the start of a drug-induced abortion.

Attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed the lawsuit on behalf of NIFLA and two nonprofit pro-life pregnancy centers – Gianna’s House and Options Care Center – alleging New York Attorney General Letitia James is “invoking the State’s power to regulate business fraud to stop nonprofit pregnancy centers and a network of affiliated centers from providing the information” that can save the life of an unborn baby, the lawsuit asserts.

On May 6, James sued pro-life group Heartbeat International, Inc. and 11 other pro-life pregnancy centers throughout New York “for using false and misleading statements to advertise an unproven treatment they call ‘Abortion Pill Reversal [APR],’” a press statement read, adding that James argued “making false and misleading claims about APR to convince pregnant people to get the treatment constitutes fraud, deceptive business practices, and false advertising under New York law.”

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

However, NIFLA argues progesterone is in fact effective, having a success rate of 64-68%.

“Statistics show that abortion pill reversal has likely saved over 5,000 unborn lives and has a 64-68% success rate,” it said in a statement. “Yet the attorney general has targeted centers that tell women about this option because of the centers’ pro-life viewpoints and the content of their speech. NIFLA is arguing this is not legal.” 

Indeed, in a “Mythbusters” video, Dr. Christina Francis of the Association of American Pro-Life OB/GYNs (AAPLOG) explains how Abortion Pill Reversal uses progesterone to reverse the effects of mifepristone, the first of the abortion pills taken in a drug-induced abortion. 

Progesterone is a natural hormone that supports a pregnancy and has been effective in the safe prevention of miscarriage and preterm labor, the pro-life experts explain. 

“Plaintiffs wish to truthfully inform women who have taken the first abortion drug that it may be possible to counteract its lethal effects if they change their mind and seek treatment within the first few days after taking the first drug,” the pro-life groups argue in the lawsuit.  

“New York is intentionally denying women the freedom to continue their pregnancies by censoring those who promote it,” said Thomas Glessner, president and founder of NIFLA. “They are forcing women to follow through with an abortion – even if they don’t want to.”  

“How does it even remotely make sense to trust women with their medical decisions if you are actively trying to hide scientifically-based information from them?” he asked. “It makes no sense, nor is it legal.”  

ADF explains in the lawsuit that such actions from the attorney general – a government official – violate the pro-life pregnancy centers’ First Amendment rights of free speech and religious freedom. 

“Many women regret their abortions, and some seek to stop the effects of chemical abortion drugs before taking the second drug in the abortion drug process. Taking supplemental progesterone at that time can often save their baby’s life,” ADF Legal Counsel Gabriella McIntyre explained in a statement. “The New York attorney general, however, is doing everything she can to deny women the freedom to make that choice.  

“Women should have the option to reconsider going through with an abortion, and the pro-life pregnancy centers we represent in this case truthfully inform them about that choice. We are urging the court to affirm the pregnancy centers’ freedom to tell interested women about this lawful, life-saving treatment. 

The case, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. James, will be scheduled to be heard in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York.