Following an order to answer certified questions posed by the U.S. Supreme Court in Cline v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, today the Oklahoma State Supreme Court “issued a strained and abortion-oriented decision in a case involving common-sense regulations that protect women from abortion industry abuses,” said Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest.
Today the Oklahoma Supreme Court continued a pattern of issuing strained decisions to strike down abortion regulations. As cited by the Solicitor General in his petition for certiorari in Cline, in 2012 alone the Oklahoma court issued three opinions where, with no analysis, it declared abortion-related laws unconstitutional.”
Dr. Yoest continued: “Oklahoma legislators acted to curb the dangerous misuse of life-ending drugs by requiring physicians to follow FDA protocols that better protect women’s lives and health. But once again, the Oklahoma Supreme Court put itself between the abortion industry and the U.S. Supreme Court by reverse-engineering statutory language to invalidate the Legislature’s common-sense regulation of life-ending drugs. The Court’s decision is a thinly-veiled attempt to shield its original opinion from further review,” said Dr. Yoest. “This kind of legal maneuvering now exposes women to the increased dangers of life-ending drugs when misused by abortion profiteers.”
The Oklahoma Supreme Court expressly ignored the language of the law that allowed RU-486 to be used when FDA protocols are followed, and it ignored legislative intent that the RU-486 regimen was approved under a unique approval process for powerful drugs that “can be safely used only if distribution or use is restricted.”
Under this process, referred to as Subpart H, the FDA can “require such post marketing restrictions as are needed to assure safe use” of the drug approved. To put this in perspective, out of almost 1,800 New Drug Applications (NDAs) approved between 1992 and 2011, only 70 were approved under Subpart H like RU-486. Subpart H approvals are rare, and these drugs are treated differently than the vast majority of drugs approved under regular FDA processes.
“This decision places women’s lives at risk while siding with an abortion industry bent on pushing women in and out of clinics quickly, without regard to their health or best interests,” said Dr. Yoest.
Recognizing the risks, the FDA laid out a specific protocol and imposed restrictions on the use of abortion-inducing drugs, but Big Abortion has been ignoring these restrictions in order to “serve” more women in a day. It gives the drugs to women past the deadline approved by the FDA (49 days into pregnancy) and sends women home to self-administer the drugs—and hemorrhage—at home, alone, and without medical supervision. Of course, the more women “served,” the larger Big Abortion’s profit margin. And by sending women home to self-administer, it means physicians spend even less time with each woman and fail to evaluate her health throughout the procedure.
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In 2011, the FDA reported that over 2,200 women had experienced complications following use of abortion-inducing drugs, with eight women dying from severe bacterial infection. In all eight deaths, the women had administered misoprostol, the second drug in the RU-486 regimen, in a manner approved by the FDA.
Americans United for Life Action partnered with 83 Oklahoma Legislators—the majority of both Chambers—to file an amicus curiae brief in the Oklahoma Supreme Court, supporting the state’s regulation of the dangerous RU-486 drug regimen, a regulation based on AUL model legislation and promoted by AUL Action. This case is currently a pending issue before the U.S. Supreme Court following its grant of partial certiorari to review the Oklahoma law in question and its order certifying questions to the Oklahoma Supreme Court to interpret how the regulation of RU-486 works based on a review of state law. In light of today’s decision, the matter returns to the U.S. Supreme Court.