With a clarified decision from the Oklahoma Supreme Court, the U.S. Supreme Court can now consider whether to hear arguments in a case it granted for this term, Cline v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, concerning the regulation of the abortion drug RU-486. If the Supreme Court moves forward with arguments, it would be the first case to address state regulation of abortion.
Oklahoma’s legislature passed a law in 2011 that requires doctors to abide by the FDA regulations for RU-486. The Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down the law in a three-paragraph ruling. The U.S. Supreme Court granted the case, but before it set arguments, asked the Oklahoma court to elaborate on its short ruling.
On Tuesday, the Oklahoma court sent its expanded rationale for striking down the law to Washington. The court said the law “effectively bans all medication abortions” because the FDA regulations are medically outdated.
“Ninety-six percent of medication abortions in the United States are now provided according to a regimen different from the one described in mifepristone’s FDA-approved label,” the court said. The law “restricts the long-respected medical discretion of physicians.”
The FDA has documented eight women who died of bacterial infections after taking the RU-486 drug regime without following the FDA protocol.