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Abortion providers file suit over medication bill

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Abortion providers file suit over medication bill

Calling it "bad medicine," abortion providers and advocacy groups filed suit Thursday to stop Arizona from implementing a law requiring doctors to tell women that abortions can be reversed.

With support from the Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, the lawsuit seeks to halt the state from enforcing a part of a law passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Doug Ducey in March. 

The law, called "Stopping Taxpayer Funded Abortion Coverage" or S.B. 1318, expanded the state's current 24-hour waiting period for an abortion and requires doctors to inform a woman seeking an abortion that "it may be possible to reverse the effects of a medication abortion if the woman changes her mind, but that time is of the essence." 

However, the lawsuit challenges the science behind this requirement saying that "there's is no credible evidence that a medication abortion can be reversed." 

The lawsuit notes that law requires doctors to go against their medical judgement and ethics and to "steer patients toward an experimental practice that has not been shown to work or be safe." 

Further, the law "encourages patients to wrong believe that 'medication abortion reversal' is an established medical treatment, when no reliable, medically accepted evidence exists that the experimental practice works," the suit says.

The law also requires the Arizona Department of Health Services to post on its website "information on the potential ability of qualified medical professionals to reverse a medication abortion, including information directing woman where to obtain further information and assistance in locating a medical professional who can aid in the reversal of a medication abortion." 

A doctor who refused to comply with this act would could face penalties or lose their license to practice medicine in the state. 

Done through the first nine weeks of pregnancy, medication-induced abortions use two drugs. The first drug — mifepristone, more commonly known as "RU-486" — blocks the hormone progesterone and causes the lining of uterus to break down. The second drug, misoprostol is taken up to 72 hours and expels the fetus from the womb.

The state has already attempted to regulate the use of medication abortion in the state. 

In December, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the state's attempt to remove an an earlier court's injunction that kept the state from enforcing a law requiring doctors to follow out-of-date FDA guidelines in the use of medications for abortion. 

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