Federal judge rules Ohio anti-abortion law unconstitutional

Federal judge rules Ohio anti-abortion law unconstitutional

[JURIST] US District Judge Susan Dlott [official profile] ruled Wednesday that an Ohio law prohibiting use of the abortion-inducing pill RU-486 [Wikipedia backgrounder] is unconstitutional. The law was modeled after a regulation issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) [official website] six years ago that warned against administering the drug after the seventh week of a woman's pregnancy. Planned Parenthood [advocacy website] and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists [organization website] challenged the law saying that the FDA rules are subject to change and that it infringed upon doctors' rights to make medical decisions regarding their patients by criminalizing such a medical practice. Dlott agreed with the opposition saying the law was vague because it fails to provide clear, reasonable guidelines for doctors to use when determining whether to prescribe the medication.

Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro [official website] has defended the law, saying it was written to prevent women from suffering adverse effects from a potentially dangerous drug after their seventh week of pregnancy. The state of Ohio may appeal Judge Dlott's decision to the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals [official website], which has previously ruled that unless the law provides an exception for women who would face a greater risk via an abortion surgery, it would be unconstitutional. The Cincinnati Enquirer has local coverage.