A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Supreme Court dismisses Oklahoma 'abortion pill' case

The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday dismissed [order list, PDF] a case concerning an attempt by the Oklahoma state government to resurrect a state law that limited the uses of the abortion drug RU-486 [FDA guidelines]. The one-line dismissal of Cline, et al., v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] stated in its entirety that, "the writ of certiorari is dismissed improvidently granted." The Supreme Court's decision effectively upholds the Oklahoma court's decision striking down the law [JURIST report]. In June the Supreme Court instructed [LAT report] the Supreme Court of Oklahoma to clarify its December 2012 decision [text] that had struck down the law as violating the the 1992 Supreme Court decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey [PBS backgrounder]. The 2011 law prevented [Reuters report] doctors from "off-label" use of the RU-486, which abortion rights advocates claimed effectively banned all medication-based abortions.

The drug RU-486 has been the subject of considerable controversy and litigation throughout the US. In October 2012 the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit [official website] affirmed [JURIST report] 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, conform with federal guidelines, which currently do not allow the pill to be used after seven weeks of pregnancy. In March 2009, the Supreme Court of Oklahoma struck down [JURIST report] a broad abortion law that included restrictions on the application and use of RU-486. In October JURIST Guest Columnist Mailee R. Smith of Americans United for Life discussed [JURIST op-ed] how the Supreme Court should rule in Cline v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.