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Ariz. Medication Abortion Ruling Appealed as Law Takes Effect

Ariz. Medication Abortion Ruling Appealed as Law Takes Effect

April 2, 2014 — Planned Parenthood of Arizona and Tucson Women's Center on Tuesday asked a federal appeals court to block medication abortion restrictions in Arizona while a lawsuit over their constitutionality continues, the New York Times reports (Schwartz, New York Times, 4/1).

The law took effect Tuesday after U.S. District Court Judge David Bury denied a request from women's health providers to block them while a trial continued. Bury said the rules do not unduly burden women because they can still access surgical abortion.

The medication abortion rules -- which are among several abortion-related regulations mandated under a 2012 state law (HB 2036) -- bar physicians from administering abortion-inducing drugs beyond seven weeks of pregnancy. Physicians also would be required to administer both drugs in the medication abortion regimen on site and at the FDA-approved dosage, which is higher than the dosage typically used in practice (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/1).

Appeal

On Tuesday, the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents the plaintiffs, filed an appeal of Bury's ruling with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (Galvan, AP/Sacramento Bee, 4/1).

David Brown, an attorney with CRR, said in a statement, "Arizona women should not be denied their constitutional rights or their ability to get critical health care from the medical professionals they trust while this unconstitutional law continues to make its way through the courts" (Muskal, Los Angeles Times, 4/1).

Effects on Services

Last week, an attorney with Planned Parenthood told Bury that the organization's center in Flagstaff would have to suspend services if the rules took effect. However, a Planned Parenthood spokesperson on Monday said that the clinic will remain in operation while the organization evaluates how to move forward.

According to Planned Parenthood, about 800 women seeking abortion in 2012 would have had to undergo surgical abortions if the rules blocking medication abortions had been in effect at that time (AP/Sacramento Bee, 4/1).