On Tuesday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio upheld a 2004 Ohio law that restricts the use of the drug RU-486, also known as mifepristone or the “abortion pill”. The ruling bans the use of RU-486 beyond seven weeks, making a surgical procedure the only option for women seeking to terminate a pregnancy.

This puts women at greater risk due to the more invasive nature of a surgical abortion. Judge Karen Nelson Moore, who cast the lone dissenting vote in the decision, wrote, “We simply should not conclude as a matter of law that every woman who would prefer a medical abortion would be equally likely to obtain a surgical abortion.” Gary Dougherty, Planned Parenthood state legislative director said, “This decision puts ideology over science, and bans a safe method of abortion early in pregnancy.”

In early September, an Idaho court blocked the case of a woman who had been criminally charged for terminating her pregnancy with RU-486 instead of traveling to a clinic or hospital as required by state law. The court found that this Idaho law does not apply to pregnant women themselves, but rather to professionals like doctors who conduct abortion procedures.

Media Resources: Court Ruling 10/02/12; RH Reality Check 10/02/12; Cincinnati.com 10/02/12; Reuters 09/11/12