(REVISED 7.20.2018) This lawsuit challenged an Arizona state law, SB 1318 (originally scheduled to take effect on July 3, 2015), which would have forced doctors to lie to patients by telling them that it may be possible to “reverse” a medication abortion. There is no evidence to support the claim that medication abortion may be “reversible” and Dr. Ilana Addis, chairwoman of the Arizona Section of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, has described SB 1318 as “tantamount to quackery.” If SB 1318 goes into effect, this law would force doctors to act as mouthpieces for the state and special interests, forcing them to provide all patients seeking a safe, legal abortion with medically inaccurate information that could be harmful to their health. The law would also force doctors to tell patients that “information on and assistance with” reversing a medication abortion is available on the Arizona Department of Health website, effectively forcing them to advertise the services of the individuals who lobbied for the passage of the bill and are not offering a service shown to exist in medical literature.
Women in the United States have been safely and legally using medication abortion for over a decade, with approximately one in four women who make the decision to end a pregnancy choosing this method if they’re eligible — in Arizona, the number is closer to half.
For the last several years, Arizona has enacted numerous restrictions on safe, legal abortion and other reproductive health care, many of which have been blocked by the courts (this includes restrictions on medication abortion, which the Ninth Circuit preliminarily blocked in June 2014, a decision that the United States Supreme Court refused to review in December 2014).
SB 1318 is part of a recent wave of restrictions on safe, legal abortion based on bad medicine that prevents doctors from providing medical care based on the best evidence available and their medical judgment.
Plaintiff(s): Planned Parenthood Arizona, Eric Reuss, M.D., Paul A. Isaacson, M.D, Desert Star Family Planning, and DeShawn Taylor, M.D
Center Attorney(s): David Brown and Hillary Schneller
Co-Counsel/Cooperating Attorneys: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of Arizona, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PFFA), and Squire Patton Boggs.
The Center for Reproductive Rights — along with the ACLU, the ACLU of Arizona, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America — filed a lawsuit on June 4, 2015 in federal court challenging SB 1318, which compels doctors to provide misleading, medically inaccurate information to their patients that medication abortions may be reversible. On October 16, the trial court issued a preliminary injunction, blocking the law while the case proceeds. On May 17, 2016, less than one year after we filed suit, the Governor siged a new law that effectively repeals the statute being challenged in this case. In August 2017, the state of Arizona was ordered to pay over $600,000 in attorney’s fees and costs. This case is now concluded, with a full victory for Arizona women, because this harmful, unconstitutional law never took effect.