Next week, several abortion restrictions will go into effect statewide. But, as Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the laws are currently being challenged in federal court.
Planned Parenthood Arizona is attempting to block a provision that limits drug-induced abortions in the state. Next Tuesday, that regulation will go into effect along with several others passed by the Arizona Legislature in 2012.
Among the changes, the new law would enforce 14-year-old U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards regarding dosage of mifepristone, or RU-486. Currently, many doctors use a smaller amount of the drug than the USDA recommends, but which can be given two weeks later in pregnancy.
Supporters of the restrictions claim the new laws address patient safety. But, Bryan Howard, president of Planned Parenthood Arizona, says medication abortion is preferred because it is a simpler process and given earlier in pregnancy.
“About half of all women in the eligible timeframe in pregnancy choose this method as an alternative to surgical abortion. Just on that basis alone, it’s important that women have this option,” Howard said.
Last month, Planned Parenthood’s Flagstaff clinic again began offering medication abortions more than two years after halting the practice. It’s the state’s only location where the drug is available outside of metro Phoenix and Tucson. If the new abortion laws take effect next week, drug-induced abortions could be inaccessible in northern Arizona.