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Arizona now has the strictest rules on the use of abortion drugs in the nation. Thanks to a decision by a George W. Bush-appointed federal judge Monday, the rules took effect today. And though it is April Fools' Day, they are no joke.

The law requiring that rules be set forth for abortions performed by administering the pill RU 486 was signed by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer two years ago. But the state Department of Health Services only issued them in January. The Center for Reproductive Rights and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America filed suit on the grounds of unconstitutionality last month.

But U.S. federal district Judge Bury ruled Monday in Planned Parenthood Arizona et al. v. Humble that even though said rules will make it tougher for some Arizonans to get abortions because they will have to travel farther and make more trips to clinics, those problems don't amount to "irreparable harm."

Under Arizona’s law, providers are now forced to administer the abortion pill in an outdated and less efficient way. They must use a higher dosage of the abortion-inducing medication, even though medical professionals now know that a lower dose is safer, more effective, and cheaper. And women may only take the pill up to seven weeks of pregnancy, despite the fact that medication abortion is typically administered up to nine weeks. Ultimately, the new law will require some Arizona women to have a surgical abortion procedure instead of a medication-induced procedure. [...]

“This law serves no purpose other than to prevent Arizona women from using a safe alternative to surgical abortion and force their doctors to follow an outdated, riskier, and less effective method,” David Brown, a staff attorney with the Center for Reproductive Rights, explained in a statement released on Monday. “This is what happens when politicians, not doctors, practice medicine.”

Arizona isn't the only state where forced-birthers have sought to restrict or completely ban medication abortions. Federal courts in Ohio and in Texas have upheld restrictions similar to Arizona's. The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled against that state’s medication abortion rule and the U.S. Supreme Court passed on a chance to review the decision. In North Dakota, the courts blocked a similar law. In Texas, the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) filed suit over the state's attempt to force physicians to follow the outdated protocol on the abortion pill instead of the "most current, scientific evidence into their patient care."

Arizona had already made medication abortions more difficult to obtain in 2011 by prohibiting nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants from administering RU-486. That forced an end to such abortions, until recently, in the northern part of the state.

As has been obvious for a very long time, the forced-birthers are not going to give up their efforts to make it ever-more difficult to terminate pregnancies even if it means making abortions more expensive, more time-consuming and less safe. While this effort comprises a major front in the war on women, it's also a class war. Even though it's a bigger hassle to get an abortion in a growing number of states, the rules have a disproportionate impact on women of lesser economic means. Affluent women will, of course, always have an easier time of it.

While they would, obviously, deny it, the consequences of the ultimate success of the forced-birthers' crusade would be to return us to the days when illegal, often maiming or lethal abortions far outnumbered the safe, legal ones. And yet they continue to call  themselves "pro-life."

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 11:38 AM PDT.

Also republished by Baja Arizona Kossacks, Abortion, Pro Choice, and Daily Kos.

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