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Oklahoma Supreme Court upholds medication abortion restrictions

[JURIST] The Oklahoma Supreme Court [official website] reversed [opinion] a lower court decision Tuesday, upholding a law that restricts use of medication abortion drugs. The Oklahoma statute [materials] restricted the use of Mifeprex and misoprostol, abortion-medication drugs that are generally taken in conjunction with one another, to only those uses in line with "the FDA-approved final Mifeprex label" (Mifeprex and misoprostol were limited to use up to 49 days and 63 days from the last menstrual period, respectively) and prohibited the use of another drug, methotrexate, except in cases of terminating an ectopic pregnancy. The plaintiffs had claimed [JURIST report] that the statute was in violation of the Oklahoma Constitution's [materials] non-delegation doctrine in giving credence to the FDA regulation on the drugs and the Article V, Section 59 [materials] presumption against creating special laws where general laws were applicable. The plaintiffs contended that upholding this law would prevent women from receiving "the most current scientific evidence and advances in medicine." The court rejected the arguments, finding that the restrictions are "reasonably and substantially connected to protecting women."

This ruling highlights the contentious nature of the abortion issue in the US. Earlier this week Ohio's governor signed a bill [JURIST report] that would purportedly cut state-funds to Planned Parenthood by $1.3 million. Earlier this month a federal judge in Louisiana ruled [JURIST report] that the state could not enforce a law granting admitting privileges to doctors performing abortions while the state is appealing a pretrial order against it. In November of last year the US Supreme Court [official website] granted certiorari [JURIST report] to decide whether a Texas law, which requires that clinics have similar facilities to surgical center, posed an undue burden on the availability of abortion on the state.

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