TUCSON, AZ, April 1, 2014 ( — A district court judge has ruled Arizona may enact the nation's most stringent laws against the use of RU-486, limiting the deadly drug’s use to seven weeks' gestation.

Planned Parenthood Arizona, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the Tucson Women's Center argued that the burden would be substantial for women who would now have to get surgical abortions, but Judge David Bury ruled the obstacles to abortion were not substantial enough to justify an injunction. Planned Parenthood said one of its in-state clinics would have to suspend operations with the enactment of the law, and that 800 women would have had to get surgical abortions under this law in 2012.


Arizona is not the first state to sign such regulations into law — Ohio and Texas have had similar laws upheld by federal courts, while Oklahoma and North Dakota have seen state courts rule against them — but it is the first state to not include exemptions. Ohio and Texas allow exemptions for life of the mother, significant health problems, and women for whom surgical abortion is deemed inappropriate.

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First approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000, RU-486 is the most common abortion drug. It is also used in combination with a second drug to cause abortions at a lower dosage, which the Arizona law prevents. The law requires that the drug is administered at the FDA-approved level, no later than seven weeks' gestation, and only at a clinic.

The law was enacted in January of this year, but pushed by the pro-life Center for Arizona Policy in 2012. After the decision, Center President Cathi Herrod said, “When Planned Parenthood loses, women win.”

“It’s common-sense regulations protecting the health and safety of women considering an abortion,” according to Herrod.

The Center for Reproductive Rights says it will continue to fight the law in court.