Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Friday, May 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Judge Blocks Ari. Law on Abortion ‘Reversal’

PHOENIX (CN) - A federal judge on Friday temporarily blocked Arizona from forcing doctors to tell patients that a medication abortion can be reversed.

Arizona passed Senate Bill 1318 in March, which requires medical professionals to tell women within 24 hours of an abortion that it "may be possible to reverse the effects of a medication abortion if the woman changes her mind but that time is of the essence."

The law also requires the Arizona Department of Health Services to provide information about reversing medication abortions.

Planned Parenthood, three doctors and a family planning clinic sued the state in June , claiming that the law is not only unconstitutional forced speech, but that it requires doctors to lie to their patients.

They say it forces doctors 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."

U.S. District Judge Steven Logan issued the preliminary injunction Friday, after the parties agreed to a stipulation that "physicians and other designated healthcare professionals ... are not required to comply with the act pending final judgment on the merits."

Logan delayed hearings scheduled for this week to give the state time to seek information from experts on the reversal procedure.

Dr. Ilana Addis, chairwoman of the Arizona Section of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, testified in the Arizona Senate before the bill was passed that there was no evidence to support the claim that a medication abortion can be reversed.

"We like to practice medicine that is evidenced-based, and unfortunately the protocol that has been suggested for reversing a medication abortion has no evidence to support it," Addis said.

The Center for Arizona Policy, a conservative lobbying group that supported the bill, claims more than 100 babies have been saved from medication abortion reversal, and that a Glendale obstetrician, Dr. Allan Sawyer, has successfully performed the procedure.

In a reversal, a doctor would use progesterone to counteract mifepristone, which increases the efficiency of a second medication given to women during a medication abortion that causes the uterus to contract and end the pregnancy.

Planned Parenthood's national president Cecile Richards called it junk science.

"This junk science law would force doctors to lie to their patients and put women's health at risk," Richards said in a statement. "In no other area of medicine would this stand - which is why we're fighting in Arizona and across the country for women's access to accurate information and safe, quality care."

Follow @jamierossCNS
Categories / Uncategorized

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.