An Oklahoma judge temporarily blocked a new law that bans abortions via the common drug mifepristone. The law was set to take effect on Nov. 1 and requires doctors to follow strict guidelines and protocols by the Food and Drug Administration and prohibits off-label uses of the drugs. It also requires doctors to conduct additional exams of the women, document certain medical conditions and schedule follow-up appointments.
Opponents of the law challenged it as overly broad, saying the off-label use of the drug–like changing the recommended dosage–is common and this measure interferes with doctors ability to use their best medical judgment when treating women. As many as 21 percent of all drugs are prescribed for off-label use, but so mar mifepristone has been the only one targeted by legislators nationwide.
Similar laws in North Dakota and Ohio have been delayed pending legal challenges.
Proponents of the measure argue that mifepristone is a dangerous drug and should be used only in strict accordance with FDA guidelines. They argue that the ban is intended to protect women from dangerous side-effects of the drug but, so far, have been unable to articulate how the wisdom of the legislature is a substitute for the wisdom of a trained medical professional on this issue.