SCOTUS declines to take abortion drug case

The Supreme Court said Monday it would not intervene in a challenge to Arizona's law limiting access to medication abortions, leaving the rule blocked while the case proceeds through the lower courts.

The state is prevented from enforcing its 2012 law under a separate ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the justices decided not to take up an appeal from the state of that decision.

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Supporters of abortion rights welcomed the high court's move, calling it a victory for women's health.

"By allowing to stand the Ninth Circuit’s strong decision blocking this underhanded law, the U.S. Supreme Court has ensured Arizona women will continue to have the same critical and constitutionally protected healthcare tomorrow that they have today," said Center for Reproductive Rights President Nancy Northup in a statement.

"Women who have made the decision to end a pregnancy will continue to get safe, legal care based on the expertise of their doctors, not politicians who presume to know better," Northup said.

The Arizona law seeks to limit how doctors carry out medication abortions by prohibiting off-label uses for RU-486, sometimes called the abortion pill.

In effect, rules released by the state would require women to undergo two doctor visits to complete the procedure instead of one, which is more common. The regulations would also prevent medication abortions from being conducted two weeks further into pregnancy.

Supporters of the law, similar to legislation in Texas, Ohio and North Dakota, argue that it protects women from an "increased risk of complications" purportedly associated with medication abortion.