Arkansas Abortion-Inducing Drug Safety Act (HB 1394)
This law was last updated on Jul 31, 2017
HB 1394 prohibits dispensing abortion-inducing drugs by anyone other than a physician and would require that the administration of the drugs follow FDA protocols as outlined on the final printed label of the abortion-inducing drug. The physician is required to provide a copy of the drug’s label to the pregnant woman.
The bill requires that the physician dispensing the drug first examine the pregnant woman and document, in the woman’s medical chart, the gestational age and intrauterine location of the pregnancy prior to dispensing the abortion-inducing drug. The bill does not specify that the examination must be in person, although that is implied. This bill is likely, therefore, a telemedicine ban.
The bill also requires the physician to schedule a follow-up visit 14 days after the administration or use of the drug. The physician is required to make a reasonable effort to ensure that the woman returns for the follow-up visit and to document such efforts by including in the woman’s medical record the date, time, and name of the person making the effort.
Admitting Privileges/Transfer Agreement Requirement
This bill requires a physician who prescribes or administers RU-486 or any other abortion-inducing drug to have a signed contract with a physician who agrees to handle complications and must be able to produce that signed contract on demand by the patient or Department of Health.
In addition, the physician who contracts to handle emergencies is required to have active admitting privileges and gynecological/surgical privileges at a hospital designated to handle any emergencies associated with the use or ingestion of the abortion-inducing drug.
Every pregnant woman who is prescribed abortion-inducing drugs would have to receive the name and phone number of the contracted physician and the hospital at which that physician maintains admitting privileges and which can handle any emergencies.
The bill requires physicians to report adverse events after a medication abortion to the FDA through the MedWatch Reporting System and to the Arkansas State Medical Board not later than three days following the physician’s knowledge of the adverse event third day after the date the physician learns of the occurrence.
A person who knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly violates these provisions would be guilty of a class A misdemeanor. The bill states that no criminal penalty may be assessed against the pregnant woman. The bill also provides for civil remedies.
Enrolled. HB 1394 is now Act 577.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America filed a lawsuit challenging the law in 2015. A district court judge blocked the law on December 31, 2015, but on July 27, 2017, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that order and overturned the injunction. The law is currently in effect. (See Planned Parenthood Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma v. Jegley.)
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