And the anti-choice conservatives are at it again. Once again they are attempting to limit abortion access on the guise of “protecting women.” Luckily for women, we have groups like the Center for Reproductive Rights. Late on October 5th, the CRR filed a legal challenge to a law in Oklahoma that essentially bans medically induced abortions. The law is set to go in effect as of November 1st and requires that doctors strictly adhere to FDA guidelines for use of and forbids the off-label use of any medications that induce abortions. This includes RU-486.
To break it down they are saying medications that doctors commonly use to induce abortions cannot be used in a manner not recommended by the FDA. According to lawyers for the CRR, currently 20% of prescription drugs are used in an off-label manner, yet this law only impacts drugs that induce abortion. According to the CRR this creates an “impermissible special law.” I’m pretty sure it is illegal to only selectively apply laws to a specific group of people, which is exactly what this law does. It only impacts women seeking abortions and is therefore invalid.
The law also mandates that doctors record certain medical conditions and schedule a follow up exam with an abortion patient. Most doctors already do these things, so this portion of the law seems innocuous to me. However, medical abortions are becoming more common as more and more women opt out of having a surgery to have an early termination. They are extremely effective and most importantly, they are safe.
As Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the CRR said “It’s the government’s job to ensure access to the best medical care available, not to deny it.” Yet that is exactly what this law seeks to do, it limits the options women have to get an abortion and it prevents doctors from providing their patients with all of their options. A similar law was challenged in North Dakota and has been suspended until a full trial is held. Lawyers for the CRR are hoping this law will also be suspended until a trial is help to determine its validity.
In spite of how much they like to talk big about fixing the economy, sometimes I swear it seems like the only thing Republicans care about is limiting abortion access. For my part I’m crossing my fingers for some common sense from the Judge assigned to this case and the CRR’s challenge will be upheld.