Horne Battles Court’s Abortion-Restriction Stay

Apr 4, 2014

Attorney General Tom Horne asked federal appellate judges today to immediately dissolve the emergency stay that is now keeping the state from enforcing its new abortion restrictions. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

Attorney General Tom Horne
Credit Michael Schennum, Arizona Republic

The fight is over a state law which says the abortion drug RU-486 can be used only as approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Most significant, is the restriction of medication abortions to the seventh week of pregnancy or before. Doctors at Planned Parenthood had used the drug, in different dosages with a second drug, through the ninth week. Challengers contend the restriction is unconstitutional. But, when a trial judge refused to put the law on hold, they got an order staying enforcement from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Horne told the appellate judges there is nothing wrong with the Legislature ordering doctors to follow FDA standards because it does not deny women their constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.

“And they say to use the oral abortion medicine within the first seven weeks. And beyond that, within the first trimester, they have a right to get an abortion but it’s a surgical abortion,” Horne said.

And, Horne said that right to have an abortion does not mean the right to choose a particular method of abortion. For the moment, the new law, which was set to take effect last Tuesday, remains on hold.  But, the appellate court could decide as early as Monday whether to leave the stay in place while the legality of the law is litigated.