Supreme Court Affirms Oklahoma Ruling Striking Down 'Abortion Pill' Ban

 @ericbrownzzz
on November 04 2013 4:39 PM
Supreme Court Building
The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington Reuters

The United States Supreme Court ruled on Monday to leave intact an Oklahoma Supreme Court decision striking down a state law banning the “abortion pill” RU-486.

Reuters reports that the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, making the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s decision on the law final. The Supreme Court had been waiting since December 2012 for the Oklahoma court to explain its ruling in a new opinion.

The Oklahoma court delivered its opinion last week, leading to the Supreme Court’s Monday decision not to hear the case. 

The law, enacted in 2011, prevented doctors from prescribing the “off-label” use of RU-486, branded as Mifeprex and popularly known as the “abortion pill,” for terminating pregnancies up to seven weeks. The law effectively banned the drug from Oklahoma, leading to legal action from the Center for Reproductive Rights.

The Center for Reproductive Rights sued the state of Oklahoma, citing 1992’s Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood v. Casey. That ruling affirmed that states can regulate abortion to the extent that it does not create an “undue burden” on women. The Center for Reproductive Rights argued that banning off-label uses in effect bans all medicine-based abortion procedures from the states and placed a large burden on women seeking an early termination of their pregnancies.

The Supreme Court dismissed the case with a single-line ruling on Monday, upholding the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s decision.

"The Supreme Court has let stand a strong decision by the Oklahoma Supreme Court that recognized this law for what it is: an outright ban on a safe method of ending a pregnancy in its earliest stages, and an unconstitutional attack on women's health and rights," Center for Reproductive Rights president Nancy Northup said in a statement.

The last time the Supreme Court took up an abortion case was a 2007 5-4 ruling that kept in place a federal ban on a late-term abortion practice.

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