District Court Continues to Block Arizona Law That Would Force Doctors to Lie to Women

Law Would Require Doctors to Tell Patients Medication Abortion Can Be ‘Reversed’ With a Pill

Affiliate: ACLU of Arizona
October 16, 2015 5:30 pm

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NEW YORK — A federal district court judge today continued to block an Arizona law that forces doctors to mislead patients by telling them that it may be possible to “reverse” a medication abortion by taking a pill. A trial on the measure was scheduled for next week and has now been postponed.

One reason the state has asked to postpone the trial is because the research director of the abortion pill reversal program was found to lack the “publication and research background and experience” to be qualified as an expert witness. Therefore, the court instead granted a preliminary injunction continuing to block the law as the lawsuit continues.

“This law is another example of extreme politicians harming women by writing junk science into law — an unfortunately common practice in too many states across the country,” said Jennifer Dalven, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project. “We are happy that Arizona women will not be forced to receive false information from their doctors for the duration of this case. We will do everything in our power to make sure that the law never goes into effect.”

This is the second court victory for Arizona women in two days. Late yesterday, a state court judge permanently blocked a 2012 Arizona law that would severely limit women’s access to medication abortion, an extremely safe method of ending a pregnancy in its earliest stages. Women in the United States have been safely and legally using medication abortion for over a decade, with approximately one in four women who make the decision to end a pregnancy choosing this method if they’re eligible — in Arizona, the number is closer to half.

“Women seeking safe and legal abortion need high-quality care and accurate information, not lies dressed up as medicine,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Today’s order ensures that facts will continue to prevail over politics. We are confident that the flimsy justification for this law will continue to crumble and the measure will be struck down permanently.”

These harmful measures are part of a recent wave of restrictions on safe, legal abortion based on bad medicine, which prevent doctors from providing medical care based on the best evidence available and their best judgment. For example, clinic shutdown laws have swept the country in recent years, threatening to block abortion access for countless women. Clinic shutdown laws targeting Texas health care providers and the last abortion clinic in Mississippi are pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, while health care providers in Louisiana await a federal court ruling on a state law that could shutter all but one clinic in the state. Courts have blocked similar sham laws in Oklahoma, Tennessee, Alabama, and Wisconsin.

“This junk science law would force doctors to lie to their patients and put women’s health at risk. In no other area of medicine would this stand — which is why we’re fighting in Arizona and across the country for women’s access to accurate information and safe, quality care,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

The plaintiffs in this case — Planned Parenthood Arizona; Eric Reuss, M.D.; Paul A. Isaacson, M.D.; Desert Star Family Planning; and DeShawn Taylor, M.D. — are represented by attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union , the ACLU of Arizona, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Squire Patton Boggs.

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