New rules take effect in Arizona today that limit the use of the abortion pill, RU-486.  The new rules restrict the use of RU-486 to within the first seven weeks of pregnancy, and only in the doses approved by the FDA back in 2000.   In addition, both doses of the drug (two are required) must be administered in a health clinic.  The new rules make Arizona one of the most restrictive states in the nation regarding the use of RU-486.

The rules were announced in January, but implementation was delayed by a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood.   Yesterday a U.S. District judge refused to grant an injunction against the rules, opening the way for them to take effect today.

Most states permit the use of RU-486 (when used in combination with a synthetic progesterone) up to nine weeks after pregnancy.  The combination of the two drugs has been shown to be effective for two weeks longer than RU-486 alone, and it’s considered safer because a lower dose of RU-486 is needed.   In addition, the combination drug can be taken at home.

Why did women’s health advocates fight the rules?  It’s not just that two weeks are being cut off the available treatment window for a chemical abortion.  More importantly, the rules restrict the use of RU-486 to a treatment regimen which is rarely used these days because it is no longer considered the most safe and effective by physicians.

Apparently that doesn’t matter in Arizona.  The state has a history of proposing abortion-unfriendly legislation.

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