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Supreme Court of the United States

Arizona Protects Women’s Health, Planned Parenthood Isn’t Happy

October 17, 2017

The Arizona Department of Health Services issued regulations earlier this week designed to protect the health and safety of Arizona women. As of April 1, the new regulations would require abortionists to:

  1. comply with the FDA’s prescribed protocol for chemical abortions
  2. have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic
  3. report any incidents requiring an ambulance to the Department of Health Services
  4. post signs informing women that it is illegal for anyone to coerce them into having an abortion

To most Arizonans, these are simple common sense rules. But you won’t be surprised that the state’s abortion businesses are unhappy. According to Bryan Howard, president of Planned Parenthood of Arizona, the regulations require “physicians to use an inferior, out-of-date method of care for medication abortion instead of the guidelines supported by the most trusted professional and scientific organizations.” Here, Mr. Howard is not really complaining about Arizona law. He’s complaining about the FDA’s clear rejection of Planned Parenthood’s unapproved methods.

Arizona’s regulation of chemical abortion is nothing new. Arizona has simply required abortionists to follow the FDA protocol – a requirement previously upheld by at least 2 courts. Sadly, the evidence confirms  that this is a wise rule, as all 8 deaths from bacterial infections from RU-486 (a common chemical abortion drug) have been from “off-label,” non-FDA approved, uses.

As we explained in a brief  filed last year, the FDA approved the abortion pill RU-486 (Mifeprex) under a special process usually reserved for experimental AIDS and cancer drugs.  Under this process, a drug can be approved subject to certain restrictions where it “would not have been approved for use without those restrictions.” FDA even expressly stated that RU-486 “is not approved for ending later [than 49 days] pregnancies.” The Obama FDA has even recently noted its continuing rejection of “off-label” uses of RU-486, saying “[T]he safety and effectiveness of Mifeprex dosing regimens, other than the one approved by FDA…has not been established by the FDA.”

Perhaps Planned Parenthood just can’t accept that “No” means “no.”

It is also simply common sense to require abortionists to have hospital privileges. With any medical complication, the patient is best treated if the doctor who knows the most about the condition and how it arose can assist. The Supreme Court recently let such a law in Texas stand.

Objections to such a basic requirement reveal concern about the abortion industry’s bottom line, not women’s health. ADF is working with states to defend similar laws against challenges by abortion advocates.

Finally, requiring abortionists to report serious complications to health authorities and  ensuring that women are informed about laws protecting them from being forced to abort by others are also common sense requirements. Abortion complications are notoriously underreported. Health officials need to have accurate information in order to serve women’s health –supposedly, an interest abortionists share. And coerced abortions are a sad reality. Women facing a choice that is not truly their own need to know that the law protects them.

Planned Parenthood claims to support reasonable rules to protect women’s health. But yet, they seem to oppose any such rule that might undercut their bottom line.

If Planned Parenthood follows form and challenges these rules, ADF will look forward to any opportunity to assist the citizens of Arizona to defend these common sense rules.


Alliance Defending Freedom

Alliance Defending Freedom

Non-profit organization

Alliance Defending Freedom advocates for your right to freely live out your faith


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