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Sixth Circuit upholds Ohio law limiting 'abortion pill'

The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit [official website] on Tuesday affirmed [opinion, PDF] a lower court ruling that permitted an Ohio law [2919.123 text] limiting the use of the "abortion pill." The law requires that the use of the pill, RU-486 [FDA guidelines], conform with federal guidelines, which currently do not allow the pill to be used after seven weeks of pregnancy. The US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio [official website] upheld [JURIST report] the law in May, overturning a 2006 injunction [JURIST report]. The Sixth Circuit was unanimous in affirming the lower court's judgment finding the law constitutional and rejecting the argument by Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio [advocacy website] that the law was still vague and forced women to choose surgical abortions.

Oklahoma has also prohibited the use of RU-486 [JURIST report]. Last year the Ohio Senate approved a bill [JURIST report] that would limit the availability of abortions after 20 weeks. Missouri, Indiana, Alabama and Oklahoma [JURIST reports] have each passed legislation which restricts the abortion procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Also last year, a legislative committee in the Ohio House of Representatives advanced [Columbus Dispatch report] the "Heartbeat Bill," [HB 125 text], which would ban abortions after the point at which a fetus's heartbeat becomes detectable in the womb.

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