Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Arizona Reverses Medication Abortion Restrictions to Comply with FDA Labeling

In past blogs we described changes in the FDA labeling requirements for mifepristone the drug that is used in medication abortion.  The new guidelines that went into effect in March reduced recommended dosage to 200 milligrams from 600 milligrams, decreased the number of visits a woman must make to a doctor to two from three, and extended the period when she can take the pill to 10 weeks from seven weeks.

Despite the changes in the guidelines, we noted that many states have laws on the books that adopted the old FDA standards verbatim and that legislatures would need to amend their laws to reflect the new FDA standards or women would be forced to comply with unnecessary requirements out-dated protocols. Indeed, Arizona went so far as to pass a law legally requiring the old FDA protocol shortly after the new guidelines were released. 

Now it legislators seem to have realized their mistake.  On Wednesday, members of the Arizona House-Senate Conference Committee voted to repeal the law which prohibited the use of mifepristone after 7 weeks.  They also agreed to rescind a provision of a different law that required providers to tell women that a medication abortion may be reversible that was enjoined by a federal court.  The Arizona governor signed the measure late Wednesday afternoon.

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