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Repro Roundup: Medication Abortion Under Scrutiny Across the U.S.

Repro Roundup: Medication Abortion Under Scrutiny Across the U.S.

The biggest news this week has been the federal court ruling that Texas can’t require abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles, and that the Oklahoma Supreme Court has said that the state’s FDA label rules for a medication abortion are in fact purposefully meant to ban the option all together.

The victory in Texas was shortlived, however, after the state Attorney General requested that the 5th district rule that the laws could go into effect while the lawsuit works its way through the court system. The 5th eagerly agreed to do so late Thursday night.

With the Oklahoma state supreme court’s decision it becomes a mystery whether the federal Supreme Court will still review Cline v. Oklahoma. It could choose not to take it up based on the clarification of the state court, and medication abortion would continue to be allowed. Or it could choose to hear the case anyway, a sign that RU-486′s use is about to be limited in some way, shape or form in a precedent setting way that could affect the entire country.

But there is another medication abortion case that is getting far less attention: the Iowa telemed ban. The state board of health banned the ability to offer medication abortions via video conference with a doctor, which would end the only state wide program beginning next week. Planned Parenthood has asked a judge to review that new regulation, and a judge will announce his decision on Tuesday.

Medication abortion is also under judicial review in Indiana, where a judge is determining whether a bill that requires all abortion clinics to have the medical standards of a surgical clinic, even if the office only provides medication abortions, is constitutional. The bill was written with the express intent of stopping the only Planned Parenthood in the state that provides just medication abortions, cutting off all abortion access in that corner of Indiana.

In all cases, anti-choice activists are trying to ignore what Women on the Waves’ Dr. Rebecca Gomperts explains: abortion pills are safer than penicillin.

The campaign against a 20 week ban on abortions in Albuquerque, N.M., has entered its final stage. Activists opposing the ban have released a campaign commercial explaining how it will affect those who find out that their pregnancies are not viable or their babies have birth defects, which is the cause of a large portion of the abortions performed in the city after that point in gestation. Ban supporters are claiming there is a massive influx of resources and money coming in from out of state participants to try to get people to vote against the initiative. This, despite the fact that the biggest support for the ban has come from Operation Rescue, who was influential in gathering signatures for the petition in the first place, or the massive early protests by outside groups including OR, Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust and Created Equal.

Meanwhile, early voting has begun, with a final vote to take place on November 19.

The state of Pennsylvania already passed legislation regulating their own clinic, mandating things like parking, door width and other medically unnecessary building construction. As a result, five clinics closed. Obviously, that wasn’t good enough, and legislators are now considering a requirement that all providers have local admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, despite the fact that courts keep blocking that requirement as unconstitutional. After all, with enough money, buildings can meet new codes, but no amount of money can guarantee a hospital will offer privileges to an abortion provider.

How successful has the 1 in 3 campaign been at providing real stories of those who have had abortions? Enough that anti-choice activists feel the need to remind everyone that they not only regret their abortions, but that anyone who doesn’t must have something wrong with them.

Finally, anti-choice activists in Tennessee are eager to begin their campaign to eliminate state protection of the right to obtain a legal, safe abortion. To help them on their way, they are looking for a lot of cash, and are hosting a $500 a ticket fundraiser. Or, if you have a lot of money to burn, you can drop $50,000 and be a “chairman.” After all, it takes a lot of resources to convince a state to let you pass a 48 hour waiting period.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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8:51AM PST on Nov 7, 2013

I thought that this country was to have separation of church and state - then why is it that the rightwing (Christian zealots - actually they aren't even Christians - they hide behind that curtain) are shoving their ideology down everyone's throat???? So much for the idea that the majority rules in this country!!!!

7:09AM PST on Nov 6, 2013

The harder it gets to obtain an abortion at a clinic the more widespread the use of medical abortions will become.

10:19AM PST on Nov 5, 2013

informazione e contraccezione

5:22AM PST on Nov 5, 2013

And who says there's NO War on Women?!?! It should always be the woman's decision, NOT a man's!! Thx for the article.

5:51PM PST on Nov 4, 2013


10:10AM PST on Nov 4, 2013

Before the 1920's, the term abortion , both medically and legally applied to the surgical termination of a pregnancy after quickening, set at 20 weeks. Prior to that terminating a pregnancy (or as they put it in that era, "restoring the menses" was perfectly legal and was effected with abortifacient preparations that were sold in any pharmacy or door to door, grown in every herb garden . It wasn't necessarily safe, since there was no FDA no modern testing for safety. This is what women will resort to to induce miscarriages again if legal safe abortion is significantly curtailed.

9:14AM PST on Nov 4, 2013

This is so insane and horrifying. People who have no medical knowledge whatsoever, no knowledge of sociology, and no right to keep others from receiving adequate medical care need to shut up and stay out of this. Abortion prescriptions are between patient and doctor.. not patient, doctor, and entire communities trying to scapegoat women.

8:41AM PST on Nov 4, 2013

Interesting article!

6:32AM PST on Nov 4, 2013

Carla, you know the answer to your questions. It's about imposing their religion on the rest of us...whether we like it or not!

In a way, it's like the rationalization of those early ''settlers'' who killed Native peopls in order to ''save'' them for Jesus.

Same egocentric, self-righteous attitude, except that this time it's directed toward their mothers, sisters and daughters.

Still, Abrahamic religions have always treated us as property--why change now? In fact...put us back into our place! We've been getting far too uppity since the 70's, haven't we?

1:38AM PST on Nov 4, 2013

Well said Winn

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