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PHOENIX – Today, the Supreme Court of the United States denied the state of Arizona’s request that the Court review the Ninth Circuit’s preliminary injunction ruling in Planned Parenthood Arizona et al. v. Humble.


The Court’s denial means that for now, Arizona women’s access to medication abortion, an extremely safe method of early abortion, will be protected because the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit instructed a district court to preliminarily block the state regulation and law that would otherwise eliminate or dramatically reduce access to medication abortion. The measure will remain preliminarily blocked while the case moves forward in the federal district court.


For the last several years, Arizona has enacted numerous restrictions that interfere with a woman’s ability to make her own health care decisions, several of which have been blocked by court order, including a ban on abortion at 20 weeks, which the Court of Appeals declared unconstitutional and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review in January; and an effort to exclude Planned Parenthood health centers from providing cancer screenings, birth control, and other care to their patients through the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), which the Court of Appeals ruled unlawful and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review in February.


Planned Parenthood Arizona, Inc. and Tucson Women’s Clinic are represented in the case by attorneys from Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Center for Reproductive Rights as well as by Lawrence Rosenfeld of Squire Patton Boggs.


“The Court did the right thing today, but this dangerous and misguided law should never have passed in the first place. Politicians across the country should take note — these harmful and unconstitutional restrictions won’t be tolerated by the courts or the public,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Politicians are not medical experts — but politicians have written this law with the ultimate goal of making safe, legal abortion hard or even impossible to access. We are pleased that the courts are recognizing that these unconstitutional laws hurt women and block access to safe medical care.”


“As a leading health care provider to women in Arizona, we want to protect women’s health and safety, but these restrictions go against more than 14 years of medical research. Proponents of this law say it protects women, but actually does otherwise,” says Bryan Howard, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona. “It’s 2014 — it’s well past time medical decisions be left between a woman and her physician.”


The American Medical Association (AMA) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) had urged the appellate court to block this dangerous Arizona law, telling the court:  “The Arizona law impedes physician discretion and contravenes medical ethics by outlawing the safest, most effective method of medical abortion and relegating women to an outdated, inferior treatment.  […] There is no question that the Arizona law confers significant risk and no benefit to women’s health. Put simply, the law is bad medicine.”


As the Oklahoma Supreme Court explained in striking down a similar law in that state: it “is so completely at odds with the standard that governs the practice of medicine that it can serve no purpose other than to prevent women from obtaining abortions and to punish and discriminate against those who do.”




Background on evidence-based medicine

The way a drug is administered often evolves after the FDA has approved it for use. This is called evidence-based medicine — when, after years of use, the medical community often prescribes medicines for different uses and/or in different doses based on new research and their experience. This is how aspirin came to be used to prevent heart attacks. The FDA does not restrict the way this, or other medications, are used. Indeed, this was confirmed in relation to this lawsuit when, according to the Wall Street Journal, an FDA spokesperson remarked that: “The FDA does not regulate the practice of medicine."




In the community for 80 years, Planned Parenthood Arizona is the leading sexual health organization in Arizona. The organization provides health care, education and outreach services to more than 90,000 men, women, teens and parents annually. Planned Parenthood Arizona operates health center locations statewide in Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff. For more information, please visit www.ppaz.org.


Planned Parenthood Arizona, Inc.


Cynde Cerf


[email protected]


December 15, 2014