A federal appeals court issued an emergency order blocking enforcement of new Arizona regulations that would restrict use of a “morning-after” pill for non-surgical abortions, saying the law “raises serious legal questions.”
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily enjoined Arizona enforcement of a law late Tuesday night and ordered a speedy hearing of the appeal, set for May 12 in San Francisco.
The regulations, Arizona argued would protect women from the dangers of an abortion pill. The rules were set to take effect April 1.
Opponents, including Planned Parenthood of Arizona, which sued to block the restrictions, said the rules would force doctors to use inferior, out-of-date medical care for medication abortion. In addition, the regulations ban the use of medication abortion after seven weeks of pregnancy.
The balance of hardships tips sharply in favor of Planned Parenthood of Arizona, “whose patients will likely suffer irreparable harm absent an injunction pending appeal because they will immediately lose access to a common abortion procedure as soon as the law takes effect,” the panel wrote.
Arizona issued regulations, approved by Gov. Jan Brewer in April 2012, to restrict use of certain drugs that would end a pregnancy at its earliest stages and avoid surgical abortion.
“The appeals court has recognized that Arizona women would not be denied access to critical reproductive care while yet another clearly unconstitutional attack on their health and rights makes its way through the courts,” said David Brown, attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights.
Case: Planned Parenthood of Arizona v. Humble, No. 14-15624