Total Oklahoma ban on drug-induced abortion would be constitutional, attorney general contends

In a closely watched case that has drawn the interest of the U.S. Supreme Court, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt defends state law restricting drug-induced abortions.
by Chris Casteel Modified: October 3, 2013 at 8:18 pm •  Published: October 4, 2013

The law was written with the apparent intent of banning so-called off-label uses of the drugs, including RU-486, used to induce abortion. In the years after the Food and Drug Administration approved a two-drug protocol to induce abortion, practicing physicians modified the regimen to reduce the amount of one drug needed.

The abortion rights coalition told the court that the FDA never specifically approved either of the drugs used in the protocol for abortion, meaning that the Oklahoma law “flatly prohibits any medication from being used off-label to terminate a pregnancy.”

But Pruitt, in a brief filed this week and in previous filings, contends that the law addresses the FDA protocol for the drugs and clearly allows drug-induced abortions that follow that protocol.

He said the abortion rights group challenging the law was trying to convince the Oklahoma Supreme Court to “make this case go away” by ruling that the law bans all drug-induced abortions.

But Pruitt contends that won't make the case go away because the U.S. Supreme Court will consider it no matter how the Oklahoma Supreme Court rules.

The state has always maintained that the law is constitutional even if it's interpreted as a total ban on drug-induced abortions, Pruitt told the state court.

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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