Supreme Court Rejects Anti-Choice Appeal

Many expected the U.S. Supreme Court to consider a choice-related case after the Oklahoma Supreme Court found Tuesday that a 2011 law preventing the use of a commonly prescribed abortion drug is unconstitutional.  After pro-choice groups filed suit, an Oklahoma trial court judge struck down the law last year, and the state Supreme Court in December issued a brief affirmation of that decision.

Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the law, but requested the Oklahoma Supreme Court offer clarification of its understanding of the statute. The Supreme Court justices asked whether the state judges thought the current law bars use of the abortion drug misoprostol, even when physicians follow FDA protocol, and whether the state measure prevents physicians from using a related cancer drug that falls under the statute. On Tuesday, in their response to the U.S. Supreme Court, the state court found that the law restricting mifepristone and similar medications was not in the interest of protecting women’s health. They wrote that it “effectively bans all medication abortions” and  “is so completely at odds with the standard that governs the practice of medicine that is can serve no purpose except to prevent women from obtaining abortions and to punish and discriminate against those who do.”

Despite an initial agreement to consider the Oklahoma law, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the case today, saying it will not address the issue. A narrower question, though, concerning state’s ability to overrule FDA regulations may soon reach the court in the form of Texas legislation upheld last week. 

Today’s decision serves as a victory for supporters of choice and Oklahoma women, who will maintain access to safe and legal medical options. 


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