The U.S. Supreme Court decided Monday that is leaving a controversial abortion law appeal in Oklahoma with the state. Oklahoma legislators looked to reinstate the law, which would effectively ban all medical abortions by limiting the use of the abortion-inducing drug RU-486. Now, the high court says it won't hear the case, which means that the existing state law remains intact.
In a one-line dismissal, the Supreme Court called the case "improvidently granted." It concerns a 2012 Oklahoma ruling on a 2011 law that prevented doctors from using their own up-to-date judgment when using the abortion pill Mifeprex, sometimes steering away from instructions on the label.
As Bustle reported:
The Oklahoma Supreme Court blocked a 2011 law that, by taking advantage of how FDA regulations are written, effectively outlawed medically-induced abortions in the state. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt then asked the Supreme Court of the United States to take up the case; SCOTUS agreed to hear it, but asked the Oklahoma court to clear up some questions first — mainly, whether or not the law actually would outlaw medical abortions (its initial ruling didn’t explicitly state that it would do so; it merely declared the rule unconstitutional).
The Oklahoma Supreme Court replied in the affirmative that the law does ban medical abortions.
In 2012, Oklahoma's high court ruled that the law violated a 1992's Supreme Court ruling of Parenthood v. Casey, stating that abortion regulations are legal so long as they do not impose an "undue burden" on women seeking abortions.
The "off-label" practices of the pill have evolved quite a bit since 2000, the year it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration, as we explained:
For example, instead of 600 milligrams of Mifeprex, doctors now use only 200. The original FDA instructions said the medication should be used only up to 49 days of pregnancy, but doctors now know the procedure is safe and effective for up to 62 days. Furthermore, doctors now often give the patient the second drug to be taken in the privacy of her own home, despite the fact that the FDA mandates a second office visit.
Similar cases may pop up in other states, such as Texas, where people have voiced concerns about a part of the new law that requires doctors to have hospital admitting privileges. Opponents requested the Supreme Court to "reimpose a district court stay" on that section of the law, but the Court has not responded yet, Reuters reports.
In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to keep a law banning a late-term abortion procedure.