Arizona's New Regulations on Medicated Abortion Draw a Lawsuit

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Yet another new Arizona abortion law has resulted in a lawsuit.

The latest lawsuit, filed by Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Center for Reproductive Rights, alleges a new regulation that restricts how medicated abortions are administered is unconstitutional.

David Brown, a staff attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, says a strict interpretation of the law could actually ban medicated abortions entirely in Arizona.

See also:
-Window for Medicated Abortions to Be Shortened Under Arizona Health Regulations
-Arizona House Passes Bill to Allow Warrantless Searches of Abortion Clinics

The lawsuit stems from the Arizona Department of Health Services making new rules to comply with House Bill 2036, signed by the governor in 2012. That law called for ADHS to make various rules, including that doctors have to prescribe the abortion-inducing medications in compliance with the FDA's protocol.

The FDA's dated protocol says, among other things, that these medications can be used up to seven weeks of pregnancy. One of the drugs used in medicated abortions is technically used "off label," leading to the belief that the law could be banning medicated abortions outright, under a strict interpretation.

Abortion providers in the state currently rely on the medical standard outlined by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which says the preferred method of administering the medications can be done through nine weeks of pregnancy (their method also requires that "off label" use of the medication).

"It's clear the real purpose of HB 2036 was to restrict safe legal access of abortion," Planned Parenthood Arizona president Bryan Howard says.

We'll give you one guess as to which group lobbied heavily for the passage of HB 2036. (The Center for Arizona Policy, which is behind another abortion bill working its way through the Legislature, which is also likely to draw a lawsuit.)

Another part of the law, banning abortions past 20 weeks of pregnancy, already has been overturned in federal court, in a case the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear.

Dr. Eric Reuss, a Scottsdale OB/GYN, said these new restrictions "turn back the clock" on how medicated abortions are administered, adding that the modern, preferred method is based on rigorous scientific studies.

"Supporters of the law claim to be doing this for the benefit of women," Reuss says. "This law was not designed to protect women, it does the opposite."

Howard said about 2,500 women in Arizona came to Planned Parenthood for medicated abortion services in 2013, within nine weeks of pregnancy -- the current time frame for medicated abortions.

Under this new regulation, that wouldn't have been an option for 800 of those women, Howard says.

Ohio and Texas have enacted similar regulations, and those have been upheld in court challenges, with exceptions.

Brown, the Center for Reproductive Rights attorney, doesn't have the same expectation for the lawsuit against the Arizona law. He says that every state's restriction is slightly different, and the evidence supporting their case is different now than it was when the aforementioned court battles were fought.

Got a tip? Send it to: Matthew Hendley.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX.
Follow Matthew Hendley at @MatthewHendley.

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DonkeyHotay topcommenter

If God didn't want women to have abortions, he wouldn't spontaneously terminate MILLIONS of pregnancies every MONTH.


Joe Kennedy
Joe Kennedy

These pro lifers only care about the fetus. Once the kid is born they couldn't give a shit, that is until the kid is 18 so they can go die in a war. It's called...delayed abortion.

Barbara Hoskinson
Barbara Hoskinson

Weather some lawmakers realize it or not, there are problems in Arizona and a woman's right to choose is not one of them. Stay out of our vaginas!!!!!!!!!


Abortion stops a beating heart, you bunch of ignorant dumbasses. The aforementioned fact is NOT Republican, Democrat nor is it based in anyone's damned  religion, IT'S MEDICAL SCIENCE. I have never in my life seen so damned many ghouls that were obsessed with committing infanticide. It's NOT too late to abort yourselves, go jump off of a damned cliff..a nice high jagged one!! The world will be a little nicer place to live without you.

Flyer9753 topcommenter

@Mathew_Hendley You really need to start referring to these attempts to pass religious law by the Republicans as Jihads

It is what they are so let's call a spade a spade and make it clear to the Republicans and readers exactly what these attempts by the Religious Right are, a Jihad no different than when the muslim extremists wage one

Flyer9753 topcommenter

More taxpayer monies wasted by our state Republicans on religious jihads that they know will never make it past the courts

Cozz topcommenter

Here we go again...Arizona, the Capital of Looneytoons.

david_saint01 topcommenter

why isnt Herrod paying for this lawsuit? if she wants to implement her own policy, then she can cover the tab! 



Until it's separated from the mother, a fetus is a parasite. Parasites' continued existence is at the whim of the host.

valleynative topcommenter


A beating heart doesn't make a mass of biological tissue a human being.

You're confusing poetry with medical science.

valleynative topcommenter


I suspect that she considers these bills to be, at least in part, an economic attack on the evil abortionists, forcing them to pay to have the laws thrown out.  She doesn't care how much the taxpayers have to spend.  She's not running for any public office.

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