As of today, women in Arizona face the strictest rules in the nation regarding the use of the abortion drug RU-486, reports AP. A federal judge declined to block the rules from taking effect while a legal fight over them makes its way through the courts. The upshot is that women in the state will be able to use the drug only through the first seven weeks of pregnancy, two weeks fewer than women elsewhere. Arizona's legislature approved the change in 2012, and Planned Parenthood sued, arguing that the move will create undue hardships for women and force hundreds to have surgical abortions instead.
In northern Arizona, for example, the lone abortion provider offers only the drug option, reports the New York Times. Federal Judge David C. Bury disagreed, saying that while the stricter rules will make it tougher for women, they won't create obstacles that violate their right to an abortion on constitutional grounds. He added that he thinks Planned Parenthood is going lose the larger court fight anyway. About 800 women a year are expected to be affected by the ruling, reports the Arizona Daily Star. (Read more mifepristone stories.)