Supreme Court Rejects Planned Parenthood Challenge to Medication Abortion Restrictions

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Posted: May 29, 2018 11:10 AM
Supreme Court Rejects Planned Parenthood Challenge to Medication Abortion Restrictions

The Supreme Court rejected a challenge to an Arkansas law Tuesday from Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma. The law requires doctors who provide medication abortions to have an arrangement with another doctor who has admitting privileges to a hospital in case of complications.

The Abortion-Inducing Drugs Safety Act, passed in 2015, requires any doctor who "gives, sells, dispenses, administers, or otherwise provides or proscribes the abortion-inducing drug" to have a signed contract with another doctor with “active admitting privileges and gynecological/surgical privileges at a hospital designated to handle any emergencies associated with the use or ingestion of the abortion-inducing drug” who agrees to handle complications.

Planned Parenthood sued over the law, claiming it was a medically unnecessary requirement that would unconstitutionally restrict access to abortion in the state because its Little Rock and Fayetteville clinics could not find doctors willing to accept a contract with a Planned Parenthood phycisian.

"It would make Arkansas the only state to effectively ban medication abortion," Planned Parenthood claimed. "The restriction would eliminate entirely a safe, common method of early abortion and force all women in the state to travel to a single provider in Little Rock to have a surgical procedure, thereby preventing many women from obtaining an abortion altogether."

The state of Arkansas countered that the measure is a "commonsense requirement" that "merely requires medication abortion providers to have a contractual relationship (to ensure follow-up treatment if needed) with a physician that has admitting privileges.”

The justices offered no explanation for passing on the case, rejecting Planned Parenthood’s appeal in a one-line order.

The order means that the restrictions could go into effect by mid-July if no further legal action is taken. Planned Parenthood will likely challenge the law in US district court.