The regulations, which go into effect on Tuesday,
would require any medicine used to induce an abortion to be
administered strictly according to protocols issued by the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration and instructions on the label.
The FDA has approved RU-486, the so-called "abortion pill," for use
within seven weeks' gestation. Doctors who have prescribed it later
than that have made an off-label use which is not allowed under
At issue in the case is a physician's discretion to go "off-label"
and use the drug as the doctor believes would be best for a woman
seeking to end her pregnancy.
Planned Parenthood and the Tucson Women's Center sued to overturn
the rules and sought a temporary restraining order to stop them from
going into effect while the lawsuit was being litigated.
They argued that the regulations could force women to travel to
other states to get an abortion or prevent them from getting the
David Brown, an attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights,
said he was disappointed with a ruling he said would further cut
into a woman's constitutional rights and access to safe,
high-quality reproductive health care based on where they live.
"This law serves no purpose other than to prevent Arizona women from
using a safe alternative to surgical abortion and force their
doctors to follow an outdated, riskier, and less effective method,"
Brown said in a statement. "This is what happens when politicians,
not doctors, practice medicine."
The rules were part of a package of items included in legislation
signed into law by Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer in 2012,
in what has been a continuing effort to seek ways to limit abortions
in the southwestern state.
A provision at the heart of the law, banning abortions from 20 weeks
gestation except in medical emergencies, was struck down last year
by a federal court, but the drug provision remains intact.
[to top of second column]
Cathi Herrod, president of the conservative Center for Arizona
Policy, called Monday's ruling a "victory for anyone who cares about
the well-being of women."
"When Planned Parenthood loses, women win," Herrod said.
In rejecting the request for a temporary restraining order, U.S.
District Judge David Bury said that they had not raised serious
questions going to the merits of the case.
In Arizona, the latest figures show that 32 percent of the 13,340
abortions performed in 2012 were non-surgical - all but a small
percentage using RU-486, or mifepristone.
(Additional reporting by David Schwartz in Phoenix and Dan Whitcomb
in Los Angeles; writing by Dan Whitcomb; editing by Cynthia
Johnston, Richard Chang and Lisa Shumaker)
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