Arkansas: US Supreme Court upholds strict law limiting medication-induced abortions

Publié le 18 Jun, 2018

Planned Parenthood’s case was dismissed by the Supreme Court of the United States. The organisation had tried to block a 2015 law that considerably restricted access to the RU-486 abortion pill, sold under the brand names Mifeprex (mifepristone) and Cytotec (misoprostol). The nine judges unanimously declined to hear an appeal. Arkansas will therefore be able to immediately enforce the law, “unless Planned Parenthood obtains a new injunction from a federal judge“.


The law in question “requires any doctor dispensing the drug to sign a contract with another doctor who would agree to handle any medical complications from it“, an uncommon and difficult arrangement to make. “The contracted doctor also must have admitting privileges at a hospital designated to handle emergencies “. Arkansas stated that the law “was aimed at protecting women against the ‘dangerous and potentially dangerous’ off-label use of the abortion pills“.


It nearly amounts to a ban on medication-induced abortion. In fact, Planned Parenthood runs three abortion clinics in Arkansas, two of which only provide medication-induced abortions. They will probably have to close. A woman in Fayetteville, for example, would have to make two 610 km return trips to get an abortion in the last remaining clinic.


Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, a Republican, said: “As Attorney General, I have fully defended this law at every turn and applaud the Supreme Court’s decision against Planned Parenthood today. Protecting the health and well-being of women and the unborn will always be a priority”.


While abortion was legalised nationwide in 1973, many Republican states are passing restrictive laws that make it harder to access abortion, leading some abortion clinics to shut down.

Reuters, Lawrence Hurley (29/05/2018)

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