Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com
Some good news for reproductive rights in Arizona, and elsewhere, from the Supreme Court:
The U.S. Supreme Court this morning rejected a bid by attorneys for the state to overturn a federal appellate court ruling which had concluded the limits illegally infringe on the constitutional right of women to terminate a pregnancy. The justices gave no reason for their decision.
The law in question was one signed by Governor Brewer in 2012, which prohibited off-label use of the abortion drug RU-486. Off-label use is common for a wide variety of medications but anti-choicers, being relentless about using dishonest tactics to make abortions hard to get, ignored that to push for a law that would make using RU-486 more inconvenient to access and limit the time it was available for use.
The 2012 law deals with RU-486, technically known as mifepristone, for medication abortions. It is given in combination with misoprostol, which is taken at home 24 to 48 hours later to ensure that the fetus is expelled. Doctors said they have determined that combination in certain doses is effective in terminating a pregnancy through the ninth week.
The law, however, says any medication used to induce abortion must be administered “in compliance with the protocol authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.” And the company’s FDA-approved labeling for the drug says RU-486 can be used only for the first seven weeks – and only when given in two doses on separate days, each one administered by a physician.
Outgoing Arizona Attorney General and amateur gynecologist Tom Horne expressed disappointment in the decision because it disallows him to practice his love on women across the land.
Potentially more significant, the judges said attorneys for the state never provided any evidence to show the restrictions were necessary to protect the health of women.
Attorney General Tom Horne argued the appellate judges missed the point. He said the Legislature is legally entitled to decide that doctors have to follow FDA labeling, and that courts should defer to that decision.
“You shouldn’t be able to say that we’re being constitutionally unreasonable for following an FDA protocol,” he said.
Consistency would demand banning all off-label prescriptions if that were the case but don’t hold your breath on something like that ever happening. Tom Horne or Cathi Herrod might need, say, a blood pressure medication that works better prescribed differently than the original FDA protocol and that would be perfectly appropriate to them since that would be a legitimate health need. Once you understand that abortion, and increasingly anything having to do with women regulating their reproduction, is not considered health care to the right wing prude brigade, their actions make a weird kind of sense.