New federal rule invalidates portion of law aimed at stopping abortion pill | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

New federal rule invalidates portion of law aimed at stopping abortion pill

Posted By on Wed, Apr 27, 2016 at 7:42 PM

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland today amended its lawsuit over a state law intended to end early-stage medication abortions. It said a new federal rule makes part of the state law moot.

The request for amendments to the lawsuit noted that the new state law:

... requires medication abortion providers, such as Plaintiffs, to comply with the regimen described on the final printed labeling (“FPL”) of the Mifeprex medication, which is used in medication abortions. Until recently, Plaintiffs used a medication abortion regimen that differed from, and was significantly safer and more effective than, the regimen required by the [legislature's] FPL mandate. However, on March 29, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) updated the FPL of the Mifeprex medication to reflect the medication abortion regimen used by Plaintiffs, as well as the majority of abortion providers across the country. Therefore, Plaintiffs’ challenge to the FPL mandate has been mooted, and Plaintiffs move to amend the Complaint to drop their challenge to section 1504(a) of the Act.
The filing also asked to challenge the part of the law  that requires a 14-day followup check with doctors after pills are administered in the first eight weeks of pregnancy to induce a miscarriage.

Because there are medically-accepted ways to confirm termination of pregnancy, other than having a patient return approximately fourteen days later for a follow-up visit, as the new FDA FPL reflects, and because the follow-up visit requirement poses burdens for their patients, Plaintiffs seek to amend their Complaint in order to challenge the follow-up visit requirement.The 
The filing notes the state doesn't object to the dropping of the argument on the drug protocol, an indication the state recognizes it's a loser. But it will fight to protect the requirement of a followup visit.

The suit also continues to challenge the central part of the law — a requirement that a clinic, even one not performing surgical abortions like Planned Parenthood, have a contract with a doctor with hospital admitting privileges. Doctors are afraid to provide such an agreement for fear of retribution from anti-abortion advocates. Such requirements have been struck down in other states and federal Judge Kristine Baker has prohibited enforcement of the law here while the lawsuit pends.

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