imageIn response to a state law passed in 2012, the Arizona Department of Health Services issued new rules in January specifying that the administration of the abortion drug RU-486 must follow FDA guidelines.

This meant that come April 1 Arizona abortion clinics would only be able to dispense RU-486 up to 49 days (7 weeks) after the first day of a woman’s last period rather than up to 63 days (9 weeks), as is abortion industry practice.

In addition, the dosage clinics currently gave of RU-486 (i.e., mifepristone, which kills the baby) and its chaser Cytotec (i.e., misoprostol, which flushes the dead baby), would have to revert back to FDA guidelines – a higher 600 mg dose, rather than 200 mg, of the wildly expensive ($270 per 600 mg/3 pills) killer drug, and a lower 400 mcg dose, rather than 800 mcg, of the insanely cheap ($.40-.50 per 200 mcg pill) flusher drug.

Plus, both medications would have to be given one day apart at the clinic – by the abortionist. Industry practice (aside from telemed) is to give RU-486 at the clinic and have the pregnant mother take the Cytotec at home.

Thus, providing medical abortions per FDA protocol negatively impacts the profit margin of abortion clinics in at least three ways: 1) shorter window of time of availability; 2) more expensive dosage; and 3) additional office visit/additional office day for abortionist.

The impact is significant. The Arizona law is based on AUL’s model legislation and findings.

If medical abortions (per PP, $300-800) become more expensive and/or cumbersome than surgical abortions (per PP, $300-950), enough pregnant mothers will opt for surgical abortions to put many pill-only clinics out of business.

That is what Planned Parenthood of Arizona fears. It and some other groups sued to stop the new rules from taking effect. And on April 2, the 9th District Court of Appeals overruled another federal judge and halted enactment of the rules, “saying the court needed more time to consider a full briefing,” according to ABC News.

imageSo nothing is final, either way. But the debate itself is difficult for abortion pushers to surmount, in all kinds of ways, not just in trying to defend off-label use of abortion drugs.

PPAZ backed itself into a corner by telling the court “the new rules could force its Flagstaff abortion clinic to suspend operations,” quoting MyFoxPhoenix.com – this, remember, against Planned Parenthood’s constant claim that abortion accounts for only 3% of its business.

PPAZ CEO Bryan Howard came on NAZ Today April 3 to try to walk that back, since PP’s Flagstaff center just moved to a new location in February, spending $100,000 in the process to remodel. The last thing PPAZ needs right now is for word to get out that the Flagstaff clinic is closing.

Yet Howard is caught between a rock and hard place, because he already told the press the Flagstaff abortion clinic has a $400,000 annual budget and commits 400 medical abortions a year, meaning it derives 1/3+ of its income (400 x $300 = $120,000) from RU-486. And Howard already told the press he was only able to get an abortionist in the clinic one day a week.

So Howard tried to thread the needle in his interview, claiming on one hand everything is fine and on the other the situation is dire. Quoting from 1:28 on in the video:

I want to make clear our presence in Flagstaff will be uninterrupted. The concern that we have is that if these restrictions are allowed to take effect, they will potentially make it very hard to continue the provision of abortion – abortion healthcare – in Flagstaff, and our facility is the only place that women in northern Arizona can abortion care north of Phoenix [JLS note: albeit only since February].

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As an aside, I notice Bryan has aged quite a bit in the three years since his photo shoot for Tucson Weekly. Maybe he’s worried about potentially having to take a cut in his $200,000 annual salary.