Planned Parenthood Arizona, Inc. v. Humble I


SUMMARY

Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit on behalf of Planned Parenthood Arizona and the Tucson Women’s Clinic alleging that state regulations on medication abortion are unconstitutional and threaten to ban all medication abortion in Arizona.

The regulations were promulgated by the Arizona Department of Health and Human Services as required by the omnibus abortion bill (HB 2036) which Arizona enacted in April 2012, and which were scheduled to take effect on April 1, 2014.

The Complaint charges that the regulations are vague and unconstitutionally target medication abortion in such a way that would either ban the method outright or only allow doctors to offer medication abortion with an inferior, outdated, and less effective protocol. The result, the plaintiffs claim, will be to deny patients access to an alternative to surgical abortion that has been widely recognized as safe and effective by medical experts and organizations worldwide.

Specifically, plaintiffs allege that the regulations: (1) violate their patients’ fundamental right to choose abortion without irrational and harmful limitations imposed by politicians; (2) violate the right to bodily integrity of women seeking medication abortions; (3) are impermissibly vague; and (4) violate the equal protection rights of women seeking, and physicians providing, medication abortions.

STATUS

On March 31, 2014, a federal district court in Tucson denied Plaintiffs request for a preliminary injunction and ruled that the regulations could take effect as scheduled on April 1, 2014. Plaintiffs filed an emergency appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and in response on April 2, 2014 a panel of the court issued a temporary injunction while it considered Plaintiff’s emergency appeal.

On April 9, 2014, the Ninth Circuit issued an injunction that would keep the temporary injunction in place while the appeals court considered Planned Parenthood’s appeal of the lower court decision denying a preliminary injunction.

On June 3, 2014, the Ninth Circuit instructed the district court to issue a preliminary injunction while a lawsuit on the merits proceeds, finding that the justifications for Arizona’s regulations limiting medication abortions were “non-existent.”

On January 29, 2015, the District Court granted a stay of the case pending resolution of a related lawsuit filed in state court, Planned Parenthood v. Humble, No. CV2014-006633 (Super. Ct. of Ariz. Maricopa Cnty. filed Apr. 7, 2014) (Humble II).

Arizona’s medication abortion restrictions are similar to those passed in Texas’ omnibus bill (HB 2) and upheld as constitutional by a federal district court judge in Planned Parenthood v. Abbott.

KEY DOCUMENTS

**last updated October 9, 2015


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