Thursday, December 6, 2012

Updates on RU-486

Via RH Reality Check:
In October a divided panel of Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals judges upheld the state's law restricting the use of RU-486 as a constitutional restriction to a woman's right to access abortion. Late last week the full Sixth Circuit denied Planned Parenthood's request to overturn that October ruling, leaving in place the panel decision and upholding, likely permanently, the state's restrictions on medical abortions.
The law at issue, HB 126, was first passed in 2004, and regulates and restricts the use of mifepristone by requiring that it can only be administered in the same exact dosage as approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000 and further restricts the use of mifepristone to the first seven weeks of pregnancy. After the seventh week of pregnancy the law criminalizes the use and administration of the drug.
The article goes on to point out:
The ruling is a significant one because it is the first federal appellate decision to rule on the constitutionality of laws restricting the use of RU-486. And while not binding on jurisdictions outside of the Sixth Circuit, which encompasses Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, other courts that have similar legal challenges to similar restrictions pending, like the Oklahoma Supreme Court, could look to the decision for persuasive authority and decide to follow it.

It appears Oklahoma didn't find the Sixth Circuit court's ruling persuasive enough, however. According to Americans United For Life:
The Oklahoma Supreme Court today overturned an Oklahoma law intended to ensure the safe use of abortion-inducing drugs, such as RU-486.  The law, enacted in 2011 and based upon an AUL model, simply required that abortion providers administer the drugs in the manner approved by the FDA.
The state’s interest in enacting such a law was clear: Since RU-486 was approved in 2000, thousands of women have faced complications, many life-threatening.  Both the FDA and the drug manufacturer have acknowledged the substantial risk of complications following use.  Fourteen women have died.  Eight of those women died of a severe bacterial infection that would not otherwise harm healthy women.  All eight of those women were instructed to use the drugs in a manner that directly contravened the approved FDA protocol. 
On the other hand, no women have died from bacterial infection after using RU-486 in the manner approved by the FDA.
With that in mind, Oklahoma adopted a law aimed at ensuring that RU-486 and other abortion-inducing drugs are administered only in the way approved by the FDA.  Rather than allowing providers to hand out dangerous drugs and send women home to self-administer away from physician oversight and beyond the gestational limit approved by the FDA, the law required that physicians examine women before administering the drugs and instructed that the drugs be administered in a clinical setting within the gestational limit approved by the FDA.


Jameson Graber said...

Why does it seem like our courts are only libertarian when it comes to letting people kill the unborn? It's very bizarre.

Kara Baylog said...

I suspect the pill is somewhat more dangerous in the long term to a pro-life society than conventional abortions. Whether you are able to see it or not, the actual physical procedure does make the woman come to some terms with what is going on; dismemberment and evacuation. There is tangible evidence of violence. With a pill, you can just take it and forget about it right? You can't even tell anything different happened aside from what could just be an ordinary period.

That being said, since it can only be administered in the first trimester, is it worth talking in the short term about abolition priorities? Isn't it a better use of resources to limit or get rid of second trimester abortions as much as possible, particularly because of the visible violence that occurs (and is thus more distasteful to a finicky public?)

Not of course, that a second trimester fetus is any more or less human than a first, I'm just speaking about the logistics of actually making progress on this front.