Arizona abortion drug restrictions to stay blocked pending appeal

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 03, 2014 3:33 PM

By David Schwartz

PHOENIX (Reuters) - Enforcement of Arizona regulations curbing access to abortion-inducing drugs by prohibiting off-label uses of the medication will remain on hold while a legal challenge to those rules proceeds under judicial review, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that abortion rights advocates, including Planned Parenthood, had shown a likelihood of success in their claim that Arizona's law imposes an undue burden on a woman's constitutional right to determine whether or not to bear a child.

The ruling by the three-judge panel reverses a lower-court decision in late March rejecting a request by Planned Parenthood and a private women's health clinic to block Arizona's abortion pill regulations from taking effect while the plaintiffs sought to overturn the restrictions.

The San Francisco-based appeals court in April had sided with Planned Parenthood in temporarily blocking enforcement of the regulations until the 9th Circuit judges could hear arguments in the case.

The U.S. District judge who initially ruled against Planned Parenthood must now grant a preliminary injunction suspending the abortion restrictions at issue until the lawsuit is decided on its merits.