Planned Parenthood, three doctors and a family planning clinic sued the state Thursday in Federal Court, for its Senate Bill 1318 , which Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law in March.
Named as defendants are Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Department of Health Services Director Cara Christ, and dozens of members of Arizona Medical Boards.
Senate Bill 1318 requires that a woman who seeks an abortion must be told by a medical professional within 24 hours of the procedure that it may be possible to reverse the effects of a medicated abortion if she changes her mind.
“(T)he act compels plaintiffs, against their medical judgment and in violation of medical ethics, to convey to their patients a state-mandated message that is not medically or scientifically supported and that is antithetical to the purpose of informed consent,” the lawsuit states. The doctors say this also violates their First Amendment rights.
“In addition, the Act requires that women seeking an abortion receive false, misleading, and/or irrelevant information, which is harmful to plaintiffs’ patients, in violation of those patients’ Fourteenth Amendment rights.”
The doctors say that reversal of a drug-assisted abortion is “an experimental practice that has not been shown to work or to be safe, that violates the standard of care, and that is opposed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.”
After a medicated abortion, “a woman is no longer pregnant, which cannot be reversed,” the complaint states.
The Center for Arizona Policy, a conservative lobbying group that supported the law, claims there is proof that reversal is possible. It cited testimony given to an Arizona legislative committee in March from a Glendale-based obstetrician, Dr. Allan Sawyer, who claimed to have reversed a medication abortion.
“The more than 100 children alive today due to the abortion pill reversal stand as a living testimony to the importance of SB 1318,” the group said in a statement. “Women who have begun a chemical abortion process and change their minds, for whatever reason, should not have their baby stolen from them because Planned Parenthood, or any abortionist, withheld potentially life-saving facts.”
The plaintiff doctors deny it. Doctors who are “experimenting with using progesterone to counteract mifepristone does not constitute credible, medically accepted evidence that the experimental practice is effective or safe,” the lawsuit says.
Mifepristone works by blocking the hormone progesterone, which is needed to maintain pregnancy, and increases the efficiency of a second medication given to women that causes the uterus to contract and end the pregnancy.
The law puts women’s health at risk, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said.
“At Planned Parenthood all of our physicians, nurses, and clinicians make sure women have support and accurate information about all of their options,” Richards said. “This law inserts politics and junk science into every exam room in Arizona and that’s why we’re fighting it.”
The law also requires the Department of Health Services to make information available on reversing the effects of a medication abortion on its website, and bars women from buying health insurance that includes abortion coverage through the federal exchange.
The plaintiffs seek declaratory judgment that the law is unconstitutional, and an injunction preventing its enforcement.
They are represented by the ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights.
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