Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

NY attorney general suing anti-abortion organizations, accusing them of false advertising

State Attorney General Letitia James
Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office
State Attorney General Letitia James

The New York attorney general is suing a dozen anti-abortion organizations across the state, accusing them of promoting a treatment that they claim effectively reverses medication abortions.

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

Heartbeat International and 11 other “crisis pregnancy centers” are advertising an “Abortion Pill Reversal” to undo a medication abortion.

Such abortions require taking one pill to stop the pregnancy from progressing, according to Planned Parenthood, and a second pill to empty the uterus. APR is being promoted as a treatment that can reverse the process before the second pill is taken.

James sued all parties on Monday.

CompassCare in Rochester and Caring Choices Pregnancy Help Center in Rochester and Webster are among the defendants.

The Rev. Jim Harden, president of CompassCare Rochester, responded to James’s allegations by calling the lawsuit a political ploy.

“This has nothing to do with protecting women, and serving women and protecting women's rights,” ,” Harden said. “This is all about a 2024 presidential election campaign, and she's irresponsibly using taxpayer money to vilify and demonize pro-life people who are simply trying to give women a choice.”

Harden said about 90% of abortion reversals performed by his organization have been successful.

"She refuses to talk about the truth, that there are women out there who change their mind,” Harden said, referring to James. “If she has her way, she will force women to continue their abortions if they don't want. Shame on her, and shame on anybody that supports that.”

James alleges that the anti-abortion groups are making false and misleading claims about APR. She is suing for fraud, deceptive business practices and false advertisement.

In the lawsuit, her office is seeking the removal of all marketing materials by the defendants and the payment of civil penalties.

Racquel Stephen is WXXI's health, equity and community reporter and producer. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Rochester and a master's degree in broadcasting and digital journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.