[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday declined to review [order list, PDF] an injunction preventing the implementation of Arizona’s HB 2306 [text, PDF], considered one of the strictest abortion laws in the country. The injunction [text, PDF], upheld in June by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website], will remain in effect until a challenge [JURIST report] by Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights [advocacy websites], is resolved. Planned Parenthood argues the new rules, which limit when and what drugs may be used for drug-induced abortions, are outdated and would restrict woman’s rights, leading to many unnecessary procedures. Further, Planned Parenthood argues that if the new rules were to go into effect, they may limit a woman’s right to obtain an abortion at all because there are limited surgical providers in the northern part of the state. In response, the state argues its law reflects the requirements put in place by the FDA regarding drug-induced abortions, and is meant to protect women’s health. Further, the state argues the restrictions are not overly burdensome as surgical abortions are to remain available.
The debate over reproductive rights [JURIST backgrounder] has been contentious throughout the US and particularly combative in the state of Arizona. The June decision by the Ninth Circuit is the most recent in a line of challenges to the Arizona law. A separate three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled [JURIST report] in April to extend the injunction, rejecting arguments from Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne [official website]. The injunction was initially handed down [JURIST report] by the Ninth Circuit earlier that month in an opinion by Judge Marsha Berzon. Judge David Bury for the US District Court for the District of Arizona refused to block HB 2036 in March, claiming that the hardships imposed by the law do not outweigh its benefits. Women’s healthcare providers challenged the law on March 5, less than a month before it was to take effect on April 1. In May 2013 the Ninth Circuit struck down [JURIST report] the portion of the law banning abortions after 20 weeks.