US Supreme Court Blocks Arizona's 'Dangerous and Misguided' Abortion Restriction

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday blocked Arizona from enforcing a law that would severely restrict patient access to medical abortion pills.

By refusing to hear (pdf) the state’s appeal, the Court will prevent the law from going into effect, although the legislation will remain intact.

Arizona’s abortion pill limits are the strictest in the nation. The law, which was passed by Governor Jan Brewer’s administration in April 2012, follows outdated federal guidelines which prevent women from taking the drug after the seventh week of pregnancy, despite Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules allowing for its use at up to nine weeks.

The case can now move on to trial to determine whether the law places an undue burden on a patient’s right to choose, which would violate a precedent set by the Court’s 1992 ruling on Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

“By allowing to stand the Ninth Circuit’s strong decision blocking this underhanded law, the U.S. Supreme Court has ensured Arizona women will continue to have the same critical and constitutionally protected health care tomorrow that they have today,” Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said on Monday.

Shortly after the law passed in 2012, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary emergency injunction to block the legislation from going into effect, siding with a lawsuit filed against the state by the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood.