New Arizona Law Flies in the Face of Updated FDA Guidelines on Abortion Pill April 4, 2016

New Arizona Law Flies in the Face of Updated FDA Guidelines on Abortion Pill

If you thought anti-abortion activists were solely focused on shutting down Planned Parenthood, this week showed how wrong that thinking was. Another vehicle to prevent women from having abortions involves requiring strict adherence to the scientifically outdated FDA guidelines for using the abortion-inducing drug mifepristone.

Even though more current data exists (the old guidelines were based off clinical tests in the 1990s, before the drug was approved), and the medically accepted usage has changed with the newer data, there were anti-abortion groups opposed to the FDA following the science where it leads. In fact, several states passed laws forcing doctors to adhere to the old FDA standards – only for abortion drugs, of course. And, naturally, this was all done in the name of protecting women.


The FDA, however, at the request of the company that produces the drug, examined the data, and subsequently updated the guidelines to account for new evidence. Which is exactly how things should work — with change reflecting progress — but it caused much wailing and gnashing of teeth from the anti-choice community.

But you’d be wrong in thinking “pro-life” activists were simply going to let this slide. Consider Arizona’s Republican Governor Doug Ducey who, last week, after the FDA updated their guidelines, still signed into law a bill that requires adherence to the old, now-scientifically inaccurate guidelines.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has signed three bills targeting abortion providers, including one requiring them to follow outdated federal guidelines for the most common abortion drug and prescribe it at much higher doses than needed.

The law boldly defies new FDA rules implemented this week on abortion drugs.

The signing of the bill, Senate Bill 1324, is likely to jump-start a federal court case that blocked a previous version of the legislation.

The bill bars doctors from prescribing the drug commonly known as RU-486 after seven weeks of pregnancy and requires it to be taken only at Food and Drug Administration-approved doses in effect until this week. It also requires the two doses of the drug to be taken at a clinic, while providers now send the patient home with the second pill to be taken days after the first.

Ducey, you’ll be shocked to learn, has no medical training whatsoever.

It’s almost as if this isn’t about protecting women by trusting wholeheartedly the judgment of both the scientific and medical communities. The FDA’s guidance doesn’t matter to Ducey unless it can be used as a means of limiting women’s reproductive healthcare options. How much more evidence do people need to understand that this is, and always has been, about making abortions harder to obtain.

At least Ducey acknowledges that his true motivation here is attacking abortion rights, not taking the advice of experts and doing what’s best for women:

In such a case, I will always stand with those advocating life,” Ducey wrote. “I recognize that given the unexpected actions of the FDA, some changes may need to be made in a later bill, and I stand ready to consider those changes when they reach my desk.”

That’s just one of the bills he signed. What about the other two?

Ducey also signed two other bills targeting abortion or abortion providers. One, Senate Bill 1474, bars abortion providers from transferring fetal tissue for use in research. Planned Parenthood’s Arizona affiliate said it doesn’t provide fetal tissue for research.

The final bill flew in the face of the whole “small government” goal conservatives are so fond of…

The second, Senate Bill 1485, puts into law a ban on state employees directing charitable donations to abortion providers like Planned Parenthood Arizona through paycheck deduction. That ban was adopted by a board controlled by Ducey last year.

Nothing says productive use of taxpayer money like codifying outdated FDA guidelines into law — even when you anticipate having to revise the law eventually — and banning state employees from making charitable payroll deductions to places you don’t like.

What else would you expect when Republicans control the Governor’s office, House, and Senate?

(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Scott for the link)

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