Woodward, Okla. —
On another front, Pruitt’s office has recently filed a brief in support of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to review an Oklahoma abortion case involving a state law - HB 1970 - passed in 2011.
HB 1970 attempted to limit the use of RU486 to the strict FDA protocols it set forth when it approved the drug. HB 1970 was deemed unconstitutional by a lower court and the Oklahoma High Court upheld the lower court’s decision, Pruitt said.
In a bold move, Pruitt’s office requested the U.S. Supreme Court review the case and find in favor of the law restricting the use of the abortion drug, RU486 to the FDA protocols.
The U.S. Supreme Court grants such reviews in less than 1 percent of all cases. We’re grateful for the opportunity to address the court’s questions and defend the state’s ability to enact safeguards to ensure the well-being of Oklahoma women,” Pruitt said.
RU486 is a drug which will cause an abortion when given before 49 days of pregnancy and in line with a strict protocol, along with misoprostol - a drug originally labeled to prevent gastric ulcers, according to the legal brief filed by Pruitt’s office.
Misoprostol has not been approved by the FDA for use in inducing abortions, however it is included as a part of the FDA’s protocol for RU486, according to Pruitt’s legal brief.
Pruitt said Tuesday that there have been eight deaths in the United States because of the use of RU486 outside of the FDA’s guidelines, which include strict physician oversight, return visits and emergency surgical preparedness.
Pruitt noted he wants the nation’s High Court to strike down the ruling of Oklahoma’s high court.
“We have a right to protect the health of our citizens in this state,” he said.
Before the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take the case, they asked Oklahoma’s High Court if the spirit of HB 1970 was meant to prohibit the use of misoprostol in abortions, including its concomitant use by the FDA in the protocol for use with RU486.
In Pruitt’s brief, he spelled out, the goal of HB 1970 was only to restrict RU486 to the guidelines given to its use by the FDA.
He stated that as long as misoprostol was used in accordance with the FDA’s guidelines along with RU486, that HB 1970 was not attempting to prohibit its use.
Pruitt said because of the misuse of the drug RU486 and misoprostol, far outside of the FDA’s approved guidelines, there have been deaths.
He stated in his brief that as soon as the drug became available, abortion providers had altered the FDA guidelines including allowing the drugs to be taken at home, not requiring a return checkup to ensure the abortion was complete and even allowing patients to use the drug misoprostol vaginally. Among others, these deviations from the FDA protocols were present in all eight death cases in the U.S., according to the brief.
Pruitt said oral arguments in the case could begin within months.
The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office has also been working to block the overreaching arm of the federal government where the EPA is concerned, Pruitt said.
With regard to hydro-fracking and other environmental energy policies in the state, Pruitt and his staff have filed requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act to the Federal Environmental Protection Agency. They are asking, Pruitt said, for several EPA cases, which he believes could strengthen the state’s assertion that it can and has been for years, regulating hydraulic fracking and other energy activities in the state.
Despite multiple requests that were detailed, the EPA has failed to produce the documents in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, Pruitt said.
“Now we are going to have to” sue them for the information, Pruitt said.
Tuesday, during an earlier meeting, Pruitt discussed his Worker’s Compensation fraud unit. He noted that his office has increased the number of active Worker’s Compensation fraud investigations by 62 percent.
He believes Worker’s Compensation fraud amounts to a crippling impact on Oklahoma business development and he pledged to the attendees of the Worker’s Compensation workshop, offered Tuesday by the Oklahoma State Chamber, to be their partner in fighting that kind of fraud.