The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By David G. Savage, Tribune Washington Bureau (TNS)

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday turned down Arizona’s bid to limit how doctors prescribe drugs that are commonly used in early abortions.

The justices in an unsigned order dismissed an appeal from Arizona state lawyers and let stand a lower court ruling that blocked the abortion regulation from taking effect.

The court’s action is the latest showing the justices are skeptical of strict new state regulations on abortion, or at least unwilling to confront the issue now.

In October, the court blocked Texas from enforcing part of a new abortion law that would have required all abortion clinics to meet the standards of an ambulatory surgical center. Lawyers for the clinics said this rule, if enforced, would have closed most of the state’s remaining abortion facilities.

In the past decade, women seeking an early abortion have increasingly relied on drugs rather than surgery. Doctors have prescribed two drugs– mifepristone and misoprostol — which taken together can bring about an abortion during the first nine weeks of a pregnancy.

In 2012, however, anti-abortion lawmakers in Arizona adopted a law requiring doctors to follow the “protocol” set by the Food and Drug Administration when it approved these drugs. They said they did so to “protect women from the dangerous and potentially deadly off-label use of abortion-inducing drugs.”

Under the Arizona law, doctors could have prescribed the drugs up to only seven weeks of a pregnancy. And the product label called for prescribing far more of the first drug — mifepristone — than is commonly used now.

Medical experts say such off-label use of a drug is common and reflects the latest available information about how a medication is best used.

The Planned Parenthood Federation and an Arizona doctor went to court to challenge the new state restrictions. They contended the law put an “undue burden” on women seeking abortions.

They noted that medication is used in about 41 percent of first-trimester abortions, and the Arizona law, if enforced, would require women in parts of the state to make multiple visits to a clinic that was hundreds of miles away. The law would also prevent women from using drugs if they discovered they were already seven weeks pregnant.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked Arizona’s law from taking effect in June. “Arizona has presented no evidence whatsoever that law furthers any interest in women’s health,” wrote Judge William Fletcher.

Arizona’s Attorney General Thomas Horne appealed and argued the law left women with the option of obtaining a surgical abortion.

But without comment, the court said it would not hear the case of Humble vs. Planned Parenthood.

“The court did the right thing today but this dangerous and misguided law should never have been passed in the first place,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood.

Arizona’s lawyers said similar measures are in effect in Texas and Ohio.

AFP Photo/Karen Bleier

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Crime scene outside Cincinnati, Ohio where state police shot FBI attacker Ricky Shiffer

Youtube Screenshot

Ricky Shiffer was like a lot of MAGA “patriots,” often proclaiming his willingness to die for Donald Trump. Like seemingly all Trump fans, he was outraged that the FBI served a search warrant on the ex-president’s Florida estate, eager to declare “civil war” on “the Deep State.” Shiffer was such a True Believer that on Thursday, he tried to attack the FBI office in Cincinnati, Ohio, and ended up dying next to a cornfield a few miles away.

Shiffer believed he was dying a martyr to the cause. But his only reward was for the community of terminally online Trumpists with whom he spent his time to immediately denounce him as a “crisis actor” who had performed a “false flag” operation with the sole purpose of smearing MAGA people by association.

Keep reading... Show less

Former President Donald Trump

Youtube Screenshot

Most Americans have long believed former President Donald Trump perpetrated multiple felony offenses both before and after entering the White House, according to opinion surveys — and yet those same citizens have also assumed that Trump would never be held accountable. But just at the moment that his escape from the law no longer seems quite so certain, the Republicans have almost all fallen into line behind him like lemmings.

There can be little doubt that the former president is in deep legal trouble. To evade the law, he is employing his usual tactics, from slick spin to torrential lying to feigned outrage to threats of mob violence, but mostly delay.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}