Federal judge halts Colorado ban on ‘abortion pill reversal’

Apr 17, 2023, 2:04 PM

FILE - Gov. Jared Polis, center, signs three bills that enshrine protections for abortion and gende...

FILE - Gov. Jared Polis, center, signs three bills that enshrine protections for abortion and gender-affirming care procedures and medications during a ceremony with bill sponsors and supporters on April 14, 2023, in the State Capitol in Denver. After Polis signed the bill outlawing what experts consider unproven treatments to “reverse” medical abortions, a federal judge temporarily halted enforcement following a lawsuit from a religious clinic. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

DENVER (AP) — After Colorado’s Democratic governor signed a bill Friday banning what experts consider unproven treatments to reverse medical abortions, a federal judge temporarily halted its enforcement following a lawsuit from a religious clinic.

Judge Daniel Domenico, who noted that Colorado is the only state to ban the treatment, issued the temporary restraining order over the weekend after Bella Health and Wellness argued that barring them from prescribing the so-called “abortion pill reversal” treatment violates their First Amendment right to free speech and religious exercise.

The idea of reversing a medical abortion has become a flashpoint in the clash over reproductive rights nationwide after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, leaving abortion up to the states. Roughly a dozen states have passed laws in the preceding years compelling abortion providers to inform their patients about the “reversal” treatment.

A Republican proposal to do that in Colorado this year floundered in the Democrat-controlled statehouse. That is partly because the treatment has found broad condemnation from the medical community, with the the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists saying it’s “not based on science and (does) not meet clinical standards.”

The new ban extends at least to October, the deadline for Colorado’s medical boards to determine if the treatment is “generally accepted standard of practice,” and therefore allowed, or not and for the prohibition to continue.

The ban was part of a three-bill package enshrining abortion and transgender care rights in the state.

The specific bill that included the ban also targeted “deceptive practices” by anti-abortion centers, which are known to market themselves as abortion clinics but don’t actually offer the procedure. Instead, they attempt to convince patients to not terminate their pregnancies.

The temporary restraining order, first reported by The Colorado Sun, applies to the entire bill.

In Colorado, Bella Health and Wellness argued that prohibiting them from prescribing the treatment would “violate their sincerely held religious beliefs” and that they had a patient whose current treatment would be interrupted if the new law was enforced.

One of the organization’s attorneys, Laura Wolk Slavis from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, wrote in a statement:

“Colorado’s new law is the opposite of choice—it targets women who have changed their minds and forces them to undergo abortions they want to stop. This law tramples the constitutional rights of these women and their doctors.”

Domenico, a district judge nominated by former President Donald Trump, wrote in his ruling: “I find that the plaintiffs are sufficiently likely to succeed on the merits of one or more of their claims that short-term relief is warranted until the defendants can be heard in opposition.”

Domenico added that the restraining order is only in regards to Bella Health and Wellness. The organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A medical abortion is administered by taking two medications — mifepristone and then misoprostol — over the course of a few days. Bella Health and Wellness provides patients with a drug called progesterone which they claim walks back the the effects of mifepristone.

The lawsuit arrives as the High Court hears a case regarding the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone.

A spokesperson for Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and another for Colorado’s Senate Democrats both declined to comment citing the pending litigation.

For the Colorado case, a hearing for a preliminary injunction — effectively an extension of the 14-day temporary restraining order — is scheduled for April 24.

____

Bedayn is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

National News

Associated Press

Trump indicted in classified documents case in a historic first for a former president

MIAMI (AP) — mishandling classified documents at his Florida estate, a remarkable development that makes him the first former president in U.S. history to face criminal charges by the federal government that he once oversaw. The Justice Department was expected to make public a seven-count indictment ahead of a historic court appearance next week in […]

21 hours ago

Associated Press

Louisiana governor says he intends to veto anti-LGBTQ+ bills including ban on gender-affirming care

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, said Thursday he intends to veto a package of bills passed by the GOP-dominated legislature that targets the LGBTQ+ community, including a ban on gender-affirming care for transgender minors and the state’s version of a “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Edwards has said throughout […]

21 hours ago

FILE - Attorney General Merrick Garland announces Jack Smith as special counsel to oversee the Just...

Associated Press

Trump indicted: What to know about the documents case and what’s next

Donald Trump’s indictment on charges of mishandling classified documents at his Florida estate has brought renewed attention to one of the most notable cases in Justice Department history. The federal charges represent the biggest legal jeopardy so far for Trump, coming less than three months after he was charged in New York with 34 felony […]

21 hours ago

FILE - President Donald Trump sits at his desk after a meeting with Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, left,...

Associated Press

Live updates | Trump Classified Documents Indictment

MIAMI (AP) — Follow along for live updates on indicted on charges of mishandling classified documents at his Florida estate. The Justice Department did not immediately publicly confirm the indictment. ___ What to know: — Signs that Trump could face criminal charges began to pile up this month — Who is Jack Smith, the special […]

21 hours ago

Associated Press

Lawyers blame ChatGPT for tricking them into citing bogus case law

NEW YORK (AP) — Two apologetic lawyers responding to an angry judge in Manhattan federal court blamed ChatGPT Thursday for tricking them into including fictitious legal research in a court filing. Attorneys Steven A. Schwartz and Peter LoDuca are facing possible punishment over a filing in a lawsuit against an airline that included references to […]

21 hours ago

A Corsi-Rosenthal air purifier built by Liz Hradil is seen at her home in Syracuse, N.Y. after the ...

Associated Press

Social media helps invent, then circulate info on DIY air purifiers amid wildfire smoke

NEW YORK (AP) — Social media users are sharing a surprisingly effective way to protect yourself indoors from the toxic wildfire smoke blanketing much of the East Coast: a box fan, four air filters and a whole lot of duct tape. As searches for “air purifiers” spike on Google, people are posting on TikTok and […]

21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Men's Health Month...

Men’s Health Month: Why It’s Important to Speak About Your Health

June is Men’s Health Month, with the goal to raise awareness about men’s health and to encourage men to speak about their health.

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Federal judge halts Colorado ban on ‘abortion pill reversal’