Stay on Arizona's New Abortion Rules to Continue
Arizona's newest abortion regulations won't go into effect while adversaries of the new rules challenge a ruling from a lower court.
The regulations, which impose new restrictions on medicated abortions in the state, have been the subject of a court battle just as the rules were set to take effect on April 1.
A federal judge initially denied the request of Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights to put a stay on the rules during the court battle, and as the rules were to go into effect, an appeals court issued a temporary injunction. Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals extended the injunction.
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The court battle is over rules that were implemented by the state health department to comply with House Bill 2036, signed into law in 2012.
The law, and new regulations, mandate that doctors must comply with the FDA protocol for prescribing the pills used in medicated abortions.
The FDA's protocol for the abortion medications says, among other things, that these medications can be used up to seven weeks of pregnancy. 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.
One 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.
Planned Parenthood of Arizona CEO Bryan Howard has said that about 2,500 women in Arizona came to Planned Parenthood for medicated abortion services in 2013, within nine weeks of pregnancy -- the time frame for medicated abortions before today's new rules. Under this new regulation, that wouldn't have been an option for 800 of those women, Howard said.