- Associated Press - Friday, October 9, 2015

PHOENIX (AP) - A federal judge on Friday refused to delay a lawsuit against a new state law requiring doctors to tell women that a medication abortion may be reversible.

Lawyers for the Arizona Attorney General and abortion providers asked U.S. District Judge Steven P. Logan on Thursday to issue a preliminary injunction blocking the enforcement of the law and delay further hearings. Instead, Logan told lawyers he would consolidate the preliminary injunction hearing set to begin Oct. 21 with one on the merits of the case.

Abortion providers say the law is unconstitutional because it makes doctors give patients a state-mandated message they believe is medically wrong. Abortion opponents say women ought to be informed about a new method.

The judge’s decision was praised by Dan Pochoda, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona who is involved in the case on behalf of abortion providers.

Pochoda said the agreement with the state to agree to a preliminary injunction was a major victory for the women of Arizona.

Both sides had agreed shortly after the suit was filed in June that it would not be enforced until Logan heard the preliminary injunction request.

The Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature passed the law in March and it was signed by GOP Gov. Doug Ducey. It is primarily written to bar women from buying any health care plan through the federal marketplace that includes abortion coverage. But it was amended at the behest of the Center for Arizona Policy to include the requirement that women be told it may be possible to reverse the effects of a medically induced.

Planned Parenthood Arizona and other abortion providers sued, saying the law violates abortion providers’ First Amendment rights by forcing them to tell women something that is against their medical judgment.

“It does great hardship and is obviously a significant intrusion in the First Amendment fundamental right of a doctor to have to give advice that they know is inaccurate,” Pochoda said.

Abortion opponents say a newly developed method can reverse the effects of medication that induces an abortion and women ought to be informed about the new procedure.

A spokeswoman for Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Mia Garcia, said she could not comment on ongoing litigation.

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