A federal judge has ruled that Colorado cannot prohibit a Catholic health clinic from administering a potentially life-saving drug that reverses the effects of the abortion pill.

U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Domenico granted Bella Health and Wellness a preliminary injunction Saturday against the state’s ban on a treatment that can reverse the effects of a chemical abortion.

Bella is run by Catholic mother and daughter nurse practitioners Dede Chism and Abby Sinnett. It is one of many healthcare clinics across the nation that offers progesterone—a naturally occurring hormone that is essential to the maintenance of a healthy pregnancy—to women at risk of miscarriage.

“We founded Bella because we believe that the miracle of life is worth protecting at every stage and in every circumstance,” said Chism and Sinnett. “Under our care, mothers who choose life have access to a safe treatment that increases the chances they will give birth to healthy babies. I pray that we will be able to continue this life-saving ministry to women who come to us in need of help.”

Pro-life doctors have cited evidence that if progesterone is given at a certain stage after a woman has a chemical abortion it greatly increases the likelihood of their baby surviving the abortion and living.

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However, earlier this year, Colorado passed a law categorizing the offering of “abortion-reversal medication” as unprofessional conduct under the state’s medical licensing laws, The Denver Post reported.

Under the law, medical practitioners who give out the pill would be in danger of losing their medical licenses and being liable to pay $20,000 per violation.

Becket Law, a non-profit legal group representing Chism and Sinnett, say the law targets pro-life clinics like Bella which offer women progesterone when seeking to reverse a drug-induced abortion.

“Colorado is forcing women to continue unwanted abortions and punishing the doctors who help them safely continue their pregnancies,” said Rebekah Ricketts, counsel at Becket. “It is outrageous and wrong for Colorado to deprive these women of their ability to choose life, and to ban faith-based clinics like Bella from serving them.”

In a 45-page decision, Domenico wrote the state’s ban on the abortion reversal pill “runs afoul of… First Amendment principles.”

“The State generally cannot regulate an activity if that regulation burdens religious exercise, provides for individualized exceptions, fails to regulate comparable secular activities that raise similar risks, and otherwise targets religious activity. The law at issue here runs afoul of these First Amendment principles. And because it does, the State must come forward with a compelling interest of the highest order to maintain the law,” he wrote.

Chism and Sinnett applauded the judge’s decision.

“Some of these women have had abortion pills forced on them, and others change their minds,” they said in a statement. “We are relieved and overjoyed to continue helping the many women who come to our clinic seeking help.” 

Ricketts also celebrated the ruling.

“Colorado is trying to make outlaws of doctors and nurses providing life-saving and compassionate care to women they serve,” she said. “This ruling ensures that pregnant women across the state will receive the care they deserve and won’t be forced to have abortions against their will.” 

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Colorado has 30 days to appeal the decision to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

As CBN News reported, California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta is also aggressively targeting pro-life clinics that offer the service.  Bonta filed a lawsuit against two major pro-life pregnancy centers in September to stop them from advertising abortion pill reversal, claiming that the natural hormone used to reverse the abortion pill is “risky” and “has no credible scientific backing.”

However, according to RealOptions, a faith-based pregnancy outreach center, a pregnant woman’s body produces the natural hormone progesterone to sustain a pregnancy. In chemical abortions, the drug Mifepristone blocks progesterone and starves the baby to death. The abortion pill reversal protocol consists of giving extra progesterone within 72 hours after taking Mifepristone to “outnumber and outcompete” the abortion drug so the baby can survive.

The Abortion Pill Rescue Network (APRN) website shares that there is a 64-68% success rate for woman who follow their protocol, adding that “thousands of lives have been saved.”

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