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Arizona Abortion Law Kept on Hold by Federal Court

The state’s new law restricting medication abortions will remain unenforceable, at least until the middle of next month. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.

The law says RU-486 can be used to induce an abortion only following protocols of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. And, that agency says it can be administered only in the first seven weeks of pregnancy. But, Planned Parenthood has used the drug in a different dose, in combination with another, through the ninth week. A federal judge last week refused to block it from taking effect while the measure’s constitutionality is litigated. But the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed that while asking for more information. And, on Tuesday the judges said an injunction should remain until they hear arguments on May 12. The ruling is at least a temporary setback for Cathi Herrod whose anti-abortion Center for Arizona Policy pushed the law. Herrod said she’s not concerned.

“We continue to believe that the court ultimately will uphold the Arizona law. This is another temporary order. The merits have still not been fully vetted by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals,” Herrod said.

But, what the appellate judges did say it is possible some women may suffer irreparable harm if their access to medication abortions is curbed while the case makes its way through the legal system. And that, they said, is why it should remain on hold for the time being.

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