Planned Parenthood Arizona prepares for a possible abortion pill ban
TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Arizona is again caught in the middle of a legal battle over abortion following two different rulings on the pill most often used for the procedure, mifepristone.
A federal judge in Texas suspended FDA approval of it. Another judge in Washington State is allowing the pill to be used in Arizona and several other states because of different lawsuit.
Right now, Planned Parenthood is still offering the pill at its health centers across the state. But the group is preparing and looking at other options for its patients in case the drug is banned.
“If the Texas ruling is allowed to stand, Planned Parenthood Arizona will continue to provide medication abortion. However, our medication regime will change from a two-drug regimen of mifepristone and misoprostol to a misoprostol only regimen,” said Dr. Jill Gibson, medical director for Planned Parenthood Arizona.
Gibson said that regimen would be less effective than the combined regimen and could lead to prolonged symptoms for her patients. Across the country and here in Arizona, Planned Parenthood said that medication is the preferred abortion method and sometimes the only safe option for its patients.
“Access to the highest standard of health care is a basic human right. The judge’s decision to ignore medical science could rob millions of Arizonans of that right,” said President and CEO, Brittany Fonteno.
But some pro-life advocates in Arizona agree with the ruling in Texas and believe the drug is harmful.
“Deaths and serious harm have occurred, so we need to take a second look at this pill,” explained Mary Moran, a Tucson pro-life advocate. “Abortion pills are and abortion and, in my opinion, any abortion is harmful for the woman, the mother, and it causes death of a child.”
Planned Parenthood says the drug is safe and effective and has been approved by the FDA for decades. They’re calling the ruling in Texas “infuriating” and “unprecedented.”
Dr. Gibson said, “We have been planning for this potential outcome to come out of the Texas case and so we have taken the measures necessary to make sure we have the stock of medication to help our patients at this time.”
Right now there is a 15-week abortion ban in Arizona, but Planned Parenthood Arizona is waiting on the Supreme Court to take up the case on the territorial ban, which is a near-total abortion ban.
″In the case that we do and we receive an unfavorable ruling, that would mean that all forms of abortion would be criminalized in the state in the state of Arizona. So, both medication abortion and surgical abortion,” Fonteno explained.
Right now, Planned Parenthood Arizona says it is waiting to see how this ruling plays out, but as long as it remains lawful, it will continue to offer mifepristone to people seeking to end a pregnancy.
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