National group backs Oklahoma's appeal of abortion-inducing drug ruling

A national anti-abortion group filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting an Oklahoma law that would have required physicians to dispense abortion-inducing drugs only as approved by federal regulators.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: April 8, 2013 at 10:09 pm •  Published: April 9, 2013
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A national anti-abortion group filed a brief Monday with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting Oklahoma's appeal of last year's state Supreme Court ruling that struck down legislation restricting the off-label use of certain abortion-inducing drugs.

Americans United for Life in its brief said the legislation, House Bill 1970 that was passed and signed into law in 2011, would have required physicians to dispense abortion-inducing drugs only as approved by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration.

“Lives have been lost through cavalier use of dangerous, life-ending drugs,” said the group's president and chief executive officer, Charmaine Yoest, who was at the state Capitol on Monday talking with Oklahoma legislators.

The Washington, D.C.-based group filed the petition on behalf of 79 Oklahoma legislators, representing the majority of each chamber of the Legislature, and Rep. Randy Grau, R-Edmond, and Sen. Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, the authors of the legislation. Oklahoma's law was based on model legislation from Americans United for Life.

“HB 1970 simply requires that the regimen be administered in the way deemed safest by the FDA,” the petition states. “The act imposes no obstacle to obtaining an abortion.”

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled in December that a lower court judge was correct to block the law. It said the law violated a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision. In that ruling, the high court upheld a woman's constitutional right to have an abortion, with the justices imposing a new standard to determine the validity of laws restricting abortions. The new standard asked whether a state abortion regulation has the purpose or effect of imposing an “undue burden.”

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt last month filed a petition for review with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Michelle Movahed, staff attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, the New York-based group that filed legal challenges to the state measure, said Monday the law is unconstitutional.



Lives have been lost through cavalier use of dangerous, life-ending drugs.”

Charmaine Yoest,
President and chief executive officer of Americans United for Life

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