End of the Line for Anti-Abortion Law Forcing Doctors to Mislead Women

August 23, 2016 2:45 pm

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

PHOENIX — In a victory for women, a federal district court officially closed a case that resulted in the repeal of an Arizona law aiming to restrict medication abortions.

The lawsuit, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, and the Center for Reproductive Rights, challenged a law that required doctors to mislead women by telling them that it may be possible to reverse a medication abortion — a statement that lacks any credible medical support.

The legislature passed the restriction in 2015, one of several restrictions passed with an aim to restrict access to medication abortion. After unsuccessfully attempting to defend the law in court for almost a year, the state repealed the controversial requirement in May 2016. The challenge to that requirement came to an official end as the parties agreed for the judge to close the case.

“The reversal of this unjustified restriction is good news for women, but it shouldn’t have taken a year in court to convince Arizona politicians to keep junk science out of the exam room,” said Andrew Beck, staff attorney at the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project. “Lawmakers should recognize that Arizona women deserve high-quality medical care — not political ideology masquerading as medicine.”

The American Medical Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists opposed the law from the start because there is no medical evidence to support the claim that a medication abortion can be reversed.

“This reckless law was a prescription for bad medicine and government interference at its worst. This is exactly why politicians need to leave the practice of medicine to medical professionals,” said Bryan Howard, president of Planned Parenthood Arizona. “We will never stop fighting for our patients and every person’s right to accurate medical information and safe, compassionate care.”

Earlier this month, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law a measure which effectively repealed this attempt to restrict access to medication abortion making the requirement forcing doctors to attempt to mislead women obsolete.

“Women should never be force-fed lies and misinformation about their health in order to advance a political agenda,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Junk science has no place in medicine, and we are confident these unconstitutional restrictions on safe and legal abortion will continue to crumble across the country.”

Arizona politicians have passed a multitude of restrictions on women’s healthcare in recent years. This summer, the legislature passed a new law designed to block low-income women’s access to reproductive healthcare — including birth control, prenatal care, or labor and delivery services — by threatening to remove abortion providers from the Medicaid program. The ACLU and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit challenging that restriction last month.

A copy of the order can be found here

Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.