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10.16.15 - (PRESS RELEASE) A state court judge yesterday permanently blocked an Arizona measure that would severely limit women’s access to medication abortion, an extremely safe method of ending a pregnancy in its earliest stages. Due to other court rulings, this dangerous law has never taken effect.
The ruling found that measure violates the state Constitution by allowing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make Arizona law. The measure also remains preliminarily blocked by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit as a violation of women’s constitutional right to abortion. That challenge is on hold while this case proceeds in Arizona court.
“Whether by restricting a safe method of ending an early pregnancy or forcing doctors to lie to their patients, Arizona politicians have made it their mission to cut off access to safe and legal abortion” said David Brown, Staff Attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Today’s ruling is one more key victory in ensuring Arizona women continue to have access to all available options when it comes to their health, safety, and rights. Women’s constitutional rights are not up for debate and facts must always prevail over politics.”
“We are pleased that yet another court has found this law unconstitutional, but the attack on women’s access to safe, legal abortion in Arizona is far from over. It’s clear that politicians will stop at nothing to insert government and bad medicine into every exam room in Arizona—and we will fight back on behalf of our patients every step of the way,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Women in the United States have been safely and legally using medication abortion for over a decade, with approximately one in four women who make the decision to end a pregnancy choosing this method if they’re eligible — in Arizona, the number is closer to half.
Yesterday’s ruling comes less than one week before a full trial will be held on another Arizona law which forces doctors to lie to patients by telling them that it may be possible to “reverse” a medication abortion. This law is opposed by medical experts, including the American Medical Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Dr. Ilana Addis and Dr. Julie Kwatra, chairwoman and legislative chair of the Arizona Section of ACOG respectively, called the Arizona law “bad medicine” and “tantamount to quackery.” If it goes into effect, this law would force doctors to provide all patients seeking a safe, legal abortion — even patients who cannot have a medication abortion or who have chosen a surgical procedure — with medically inaccurate and misleading information that could be harmful to their health.