Abortion Reversal ‘Quackery’ Gets the Boot in Arizona

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Abortion Reversal ‘Quackery’ Gets the Boot in Arizona

Nicole Knight

“Lawmakers should recognize that Arizona women deserve high-quality medical care—not political ideology masquerading as medicine," said Andrew Beck, staff attorney at the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project.

A law forcing Arizona doctors to say medication abortion is reversible is officially dead.

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit challenging a Republican-backed Arizona measure that doctors had described as “tantamount to quackery.” The 2015 law forced doctors to tell patients it was scientifically possible to undo a medication abortion. Republican Gov. Doug Ducey earlier this year agreed to repeal the controversial law, which never went into effect because of a court challenge.

One in four U.S. patients end their pregnancies with medication abortion, a two-pill regime, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Doctors lashed out against the 2015 legislation, calling it “bad medicine,” and medical organizations like the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists had opposed it. But Republican legislators advanced the law anyway, citing a single case study in 2012 of six patients.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had sued to block the law, but the parties agreed to drop the suit now that the law has been repealed.

Roe is gone. The chaos is just beginning.

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Plaintiffs cheered the news that U.S. District Judge Steven P. Logan had tossed the suit.

“Women should never be force-fed lies and misinformation about their health in order to advance a political agenda,” Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement on Tuesday.

The dismissal comes less than two months after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a historic ruling striking down onerous provisions in a Texas abortion law. Republican lawmakers in that state enacted the restrictions under the guise of protecting women’s health.

“Junk science has no place in medicine and we are confident these unconstitutional restrictions on safe and legal abortion will continue to crumble across the country,” Northrup said.

Medication abortion has long been a target of Arizona Republicans and the state’s chief anti-choice group, known as the Center for Arizona Policy.

Cathi Herrod, CEO of the center, expressed her frustration this year when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration updated the labeling on medication abortion, making it available up to ten weeks, and at a lower dosage and with fewer doctor visits. Herrod, along with Republican lawmakers, had championed an Arizona law restricting medication abortion to the first seven weeks of pregnancy.

“We’re not saying we’re OK with what the FDA did,” Herrod told the Arizona Republic in April, saying she was concerned for the health and safety of Arizona women.

In a statement Tuesday, Andrew Beck, staff attorney at the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project, said it shouldn’t have taken a year-long court battle “to convince Arizona politicians to keep junk science out of the exam room.”

“Lawmakers should recognize that Arizona women deserve high-quality medical care—not political ideology masquerading as medicine,” Beck said.