By Jeremy Harlan, CNN
(CNN) — California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Thursday that his office has filed a lawsuit against two organizations that operate crisis pregnancy centers, saying the organizations used “fraudulent and misleading claims” about a procedure they claim can reverse medication abortions.
The complaint alleges that Heartbeat International (HBI) and RealOptions mislead patients by claiming there is a way to “reverse” the effects of mifepristone, the first of two oral drugs used for medically induced abortions, through a process they call “abortion pill reversal.”
Bonta alleges both companies know there is no evidence showing the protocol works, is safe or is effective, but they keep promoting and advertising it to patients. According to the complaint, the organizations direct a patient to take high doses of progesterone within 72 hours of taking mifepristone to “reverse” the effects of mifepristone.
HBI operates more than 2,000 “pregnancy resource centers” in the United States. RealOptions operates five clinics in California under the name RealOptions Obria Medical Clinics.
RealOptions said in a statement Friday it had not yet been served with the lawsuit.
“RealOptions provides compassionate, comprehensive, high quality holistic reproductive health care, education, and reproductive loss healing to women, men, students, and families,” CEO Valerie Hill said in the statement. “We disagree with the allegations in this lawsuit (allegations that the California AG never gave us an opportunity to address before filing the action) and we look forward to addressing and refuting them in court.”
In a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, HBI said it learned of the lawsuit through interview requests. As of Thursday night, HBI said it had not been served the lawsuit.
“Through our Abortion Pill Rescue Network hotline, we know that some women almost immediately regret their chemical abortion choice,” HBI said in its statement. “These women deserve the right to try and save their pregnancies.”
Its post cited “major studies” showing efficacy for the protocol.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, there is no scientific evidence that abortion reversals are effective or safe.
“Those who are struggling with the complex decision to get an abortion deserve support and trustworthy guidance – not lies and misinformation,” the attorney general said in a statement released Thursday.
“HBI and RealOptions took advantage of pregnant patients at a deeply vulnerable time in their lives, using false and misleading claims to lure them in and mislead them about a potentially risky procedure. We are launching today’s lawsuit to put a stop to their predatory and unlawful behavior.”
Bonta is asking the court to stop both companies from promoting the procedures and fine them for violating business codes.
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