Planned Parenthood Files Federal Lawsuit To Stop Arizona Abortion Restictions

March 05, 2014

Planned Parenthood has filed a lawsuit in federal court to stop new state-mandated abortion regulations from taking effect on April 1. The suit challenges restrictions on medication abortions.

The regulations in question say that when doctors perform a medication abortion — the kind that can be done with drugs rather than surgery — they would have to follow the Food and Drug Administration’s instructions on the drug label. The legislators behind the idea said it would protect women’s health.

But, the FDA guidance was written 14 years ago. Since then, medical professionals have come up a new regimen they say is an improvement. It is a lighter dose of one drug and allows women to do part of the procedure at home.

Planned Parenthood Arizona president Bryan Howard said if doctors are forced to revert back to the FDA protocol it will be more expensive and bad for patients.

"You wouldn't want to be told, ‘We’re sorry we cant do for you what patients across the country are getting, we have to use the standard of treatment that was in place 14 years ago,'" Howard said.

The regulations would also limit the window that medication abortions would be available from up until the ninth week of pregnancy down to the seventh week. 

David Brown, a lawyer for the Center for Reproductive Rights representing plaintiffs, said it is possible the new regulations could even be interpreted as a ban on all medication abortions in the state, because the FDA label for the second drug used in the procedure does not outline its use in medication abortions.

The named defendant in the case is Arizona Department of Health Services director Will Humble. The department had not issued a comment on Wednesday morning.