Federal Appeals Court Examines Arizona’s Abortion Restrictions

Apr 2, 2014

Unable to stop new abortion restrictions from taking effect, this week opponents of the laws asked a federal appeals court to now block those rules from being enforced. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

The so-called abortion pill, RU-486
Credit womenonwaves.org

The law requires the abortion drug RU-486 to be used only as approved by the Food and Drug Administration — only during in the first seven weeks of pregnancy and not the nine weeks now the practice of Planned Parenthood. And, it means a second trip to the clinic not necessary under current practices.

On Monday, Judge David Bury ruled the additional hurdles were not enough for him to enjoin enforcement of the law, at least in part because the stated purpose behind the law was to protect women’s health. But, attorney David Brown from the Center for Reproductive Rights said that’s missing the point. There’s a difference between the purpose of the law and what it actually does. For example, he said the purpose of Christopher Columbus’ voyage was to get to Asia.

“Similarly, just because the Legislature is saying its purpose is to help women, that doesn’t mean that they actually are doing so. And, the evidence that the court considered shows the exact opposite, that they’re actually hurting them,” Brown said.

Brown is arguing to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that states can impose new restrictions on abortions only if there is evidence it actually will improve the health of women. But, in this case, he said the uncontroverted evidence was that medication abortions are safer than the surgical abortions, the only option now available to some women.