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Arizona Governor Signs Bill Restricting Access to Medication Abortion

NEW YORK, NY - Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) signed a measure into law late last night which would restrict women’s access to medication abortion by forcing them to use a method of administering the medications that appears on the outdated, inferior, and less effective drug label originally approved by the FDA over 15 years ago in 2000.  Remarkably, today’s action comes only two days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it approved a change to the label for medication abortion--sold under the label Mifeprex® in the United States--in order to better reflect current medical practice and knowledge gained from scientific evidence accumulated over recent years.  Flying in the face of advances in medicine and science, Arizona’s law would require women to follow the outdated protocol, which was based on data from the 1990s.

Said David Brown, Staff Attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“This bill doubles down on Arizona’s politically motivated crusade to force bad medicine on women. A law requiring women to receive twentieth-century medical care in the twenty-first century is mean-spirited and offensive.

“Politicians have no business playing doctor by passing regulations that forbid patients from benefitting from decades of accumulated scientific evidence and restrict their ability to access abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy.”

The Center for Reproductive Rights—along with Planned Parenthood Federation of America—successfully challenged an Arizona law enacted before the FDA’s recent label change which had forced women who made the decision to end a pregnancy using medication abortion to follow the outdated FDA label.  The measure was permanently blocked by an Arizona court in October 2015 as a violation of Arizona’s Constitution, by allowing the FDA to make Arizona law every time it altered the drug’s label, and also preliminarily blocked by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit as a violation of women’s constitutional right to abortion.  

The Center—along with Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)—is also challenging an Arizona measure which forces doctors to mislead patients by telling them that it may be possible to “reverse” a medication abortion, although no studies have shown this to be true.  That measure has been put on hold twice—most recently in October 2015—as the case continues.


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The Center for Reproductive Rights uses the law to advance reproductive freedom as a fundamental human right that all governments are legally obligated to protect, respect, and fulfill.

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