Anti-choicers actively tried to harm Arizona women with medication abortion law

Crossposted at DemocraticDiva.com

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The official line on TRAP laws (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) is that they are necessary to make abortion “safer”. Of course, anti-choicers bent on passing often have a hard time staying on script about that, as we saw in April during the floor debate in the AZ legislature about surprise clinic inspections.

But Wednesday’s debate quickly moved from medical necessity to religion. Sen. David Farnsworth, R-Mesa, said he supports this measure because he backs anything he considers to be “pro-life.”

“It is amazing to me that we in America can give a slap in the face to God above by killing these unborn children,” he said. “Who is more defenseless than a child in the womb?”

Sen. Al Melvin, R-Tucson, commented about being a Roman Catholic and a Republican.

“And I take great pride in that my church and my political party both stand for the sanctity of human life, from conception to natural death,” said Melvin, a Republican candidate for governor.

Not that it matters because no one believes anti-choicers want to make abortion safer. If antis had their way abortion would be completely illegal and only available on the black market. The whole point of the anti-choice movement is to make abortion difficult to get and dangerous! Seriously, when you think “someone who wants abortion to be as safe as possible” do you think “Cathi Herrod”? Neither do I.

But with a law they recently got passed in Arizona prohibiting off-FDA label use of abortion medication, anti-choicers moved from their usual depraved indifference to women’s safety to what appears to be an outright attempt to increase injuries to abortion patients. Off-label prescription of drugs is a common practice, and one that – if evidence-based – is encouraged by the medical establishment to improve patient outcomes. This is exactly why abortion providers began following a different protocol with RU-486, the abortion drug combo, from the initial FDA one. Luckily, the 9th Circuit agreed with doctors and medical science in their decision to block Arizona’s law.

But (Judge William) Fletcher said those rules do not limit the use of the drug. More to the point, the judge said the state’s argument that the FDA protocol actually is safer for women does not hold up under closer examination.

“The on-label regiment requires three times more mifepristone than the evidence-based regimen,” the judge said. And he said there was nothing presented to the court showing that any doctor was using the drug in a dangerous manner.

“Therefore, on the current record, the Arizona law appears wholly unnecessary as a matter of women’s health,” Fletcher wrote.

And the medical evidence, he continued, goes beyond that.

He said the on-label regimen fails to terminate a pregnancy in about 1 percent of cases, and as many as 8 percent of women who were given that FDA-approved dosage required surgical abortion procedures to stop heavy bleeding caused by the medications. By contrast, the off-label use failed only in about 0.5 percent of cases, and fewer than 2 percent of women needed surgical follow up.

Good thing they’re following a different protocol than the label now, huh? Not to Center for Arizona Policy attorney Josh Kredit:

Kredit did not dispute those numbers but brushed them aside, saying lawmakers had their own evidence.

“And when there’s a split in medical evidence, you defer to the Legislature,” he said. “It is the Legislature’s job to protect the public health.”

Dafuq? And what superior medical evidence does Kredit assert that the Legislature had?

But Kredit conceded that “medical evidence” the Legislature was not some specific study but based solely on the FDA’s conclusion the drug was dangerous and should be used according to specific labeling.

That point was not missed by Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights whose attorney argued the case.

“Politicians need to stop playing doctor, leave the practice of medicine to trained health care professionals, and stop meddling in women’s personal decisions about their health and families,” she said in a prepared statement.

Let’s recap this: The current off-label abortion medication prescription protocol reduces the failure rate requiring surgical intervention by 75% and the Republicans in the Legislature wanted to go back to the old rate. Which means that anti-choicers wanted to quadruple the number of women hemorrhaging. Nice bunch of people.

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