Oklahoma Supreme Court uphold law regulating administration of RU-486

By Dave Andrusko

District Judge Patricia Parrish

District Judge Patricia Parrish

Last August we posted a story on the decision by Oklahoma District Judge Patricia Parrish to strike down Oklahoma’s HB2684 which requires the FDA protocol to be used when abortionists dispense RU-486.

But this afternoon, we learned in a brief story from the Associated Press that the Oklahoma Supreme Court overturned Judge Parrish’s decision, ruling that law “does not violate provisions of the constitution that prohibit special laws and the delegation of legislative authority.”

We will have much more tomorrow after I locate and read the opinion.

The most important FDA requirements were that the abortifacient not be used past the seventh week (a limitation which PPFA and other abortion providers freely concede they ignore); that abortionists use three RU486 pills, rather than one; and that the accompanying prostaglandin (misoprostol) be administered by mouth, not vaginally.

Parrish’s reasoning was, to be polite, odd. As we wrote last August

“In striking down the law, Parrish said she was bound by a decision handed down by the Oklahoma Supreme Court in 2012,” according to the Associated Press’ Tim Talley. “That decision upheld a lower court ruling that invalidated a law passed in 2011 that effectively banned all drug-induced abortions in the state.”

Which is odd, given that HB2684 was passed after the Oklahoma Supreme Court affirmed District Judge Donald Worthington’s decision. Unlike the earlier law, HB2684 specifically requires the FDA protocol to be used when dispensing RU-486.

Parrish’s decision to strike down the law came 10 months after Oklahoma District Court Judge Roger Stuart rejected a challenge brought by the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) on behalf of Reproductive Services and the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice.

The CRR lawsuit had “argued the law placed unconstitutional restrictions on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy and interfered with doctors’ discretion,” Talley reported.

In response, “Deputy Solicitor General Mithun Mansinghani argued that the Legislature was concerned about the health and safety of women when it adopted the statute,” Talley noted. Mansinghani “said at least six women have died in the U.S. after being administered the drugs, justifying the state’s law requiring adherence to the FDA protocol.”

Several states have passed laws to require abortionists to adhere to the FDA protocol. The first such law to be upheld by a federal court was Ohio’s by the 6th U.S. Court of Appeals on November 30, 2012.

More tomorrow.