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Chemical attack

"Chemical attack" Continued...

Issue: "Bright or rotten idea?," Oct. 5, 2013

The FDA, in approving Mifeprex, refused to allow the drug company to include instructions for using the drug at home. Still, Planned Parenthood affiliates often allow women to administer the drugs at home. Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood worker and now a pro-life activist, submitted an affidavit to the court about taking the RU-486 regimen herself. She was in severe pain and vomited and bled profusely for 12 hours. She said she continued to lose large amounts of blood for eight weeks.

Planned Parenthood had not informed her of the side effects ahead of time, saying the drugs would give her a “heavy period.” When she called Planned Parenthood to explain her side effects, a nurse told her, “That is not abnormal.” When she went back to work at Planned Parenthood, she discouraged women from doing medical abortions. “I hated that we were pushing it at all of our clinics,” she said. She noted that when she got her tonsils out, her doctor informed her of all the risks, however far-fetched, ahead of time, which never happened ahead of her medical abortion.

When a woman goes through a medical abortion, “the psychological problems are greater because of her active involvement in it and being more likely to see the expelled baby,” said Linda Boston Schlueter, who wrote the brief for this case that included the affidavits from women who had used RU-486. Schlueter has a long history with abortion cases before the Supreme Court: She filed the brief the court cited in its 2007 partial-birth abortion decision, and others before that. She said the heart of this case is whether the court will accept “reasonable regulations” of abortion and ensure that women have “full and accurate information” before aborting.

“It’s hard to believe [the FDA guidelines are] an undue burden,” Schlueter said. “You’ll potentially have more people going through this process and they need the protection.”

More Supreme Court cases to watch

McCullen v. Coakley: The court will hear a case on a Massachusetts law that establishes a buffer zone around abortion centers, only allowing staff, patients, and emergency personnel within a radius of the building. Pro-life counselors have said the law violates their free speech rights. The court has not yet set a date for arguments for this case.

Town of Greece v. Galloway: This is a case on whether public officials can open public meetings with prayer. Greece, N.Y., is a mostly Christian town, so Christians often led opening prayers at public meetings, although any religious leader could offer a prayer. A local resident said the prayers amounted to establishment of religion, and a federal appeals court agreed. The court will hear the case Nov. 6.

National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning: This case will clarify the president’s recess appointment power, which President Barack Obama has used regularly because the Senate has been slow or unwilling to confirm appointees. At issue in particular are Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, which the D.C. Circuit Court ruled unconstitutional at the beginning of the year. The Supreme Court will decide under what circumstances the president can make recess appointments.

Also: The New Mexico couple whom the state supreme court said had discriminated in refusing to photograph a gay commitment ceremony has appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. The court is also likely to hear one of the contraceptive mandate cases sometime this term.

Emily Belz
Emily Belz

Emily, who has covered everything from political infighting to pet salons for The Indianapolis Star, The Hill, and the New York Daily News, reports for WORLD from New York City. Follow Emily on Twitter @emzleb.

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