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Copyright (c) 2016 Nat'l Legal Center for Medically Dependent & Disabled, Inc.
Issues in Law & Medicine

ARTICLE: Refocusing the Undue Burden Test: Inconsistent Interpretations Pose a Substantial Obstacle to Constitutional Legislation

Spring, 2016

Issues In Law & Medicine

31 Issues L. & Med. 3

Author

David L. Rosenthal, J.D. *

Excerpt

In August of 2003, Holly Patterson was a beautiful young girl living in the suburbs of San Francisco. 1 She was an over-achiever who graduated a year early from high school and "enjoyed writing..., loved music, cooking, eating and playing softball and Powder Puff football." 2 Tragically, Holly's life must be described in the past tense because Holly Patterson died on September 17, 2003. She was only eighteen years old. 3

In the weeks leading up to her death, Holly learned she was pregnant and sought a purely elective medicinal abortion at Planned Parenthood. 4 The clinic provided a non-FDA approved dosage of Mifeprex (also known as mifepristone or RU-486) and its companion drug, misoprostol, to terminate her early pregnancy. However, Holly experienced severe health complications. This forced her to twice visit an emergency room, which she only walked out of once. 5 Holly's untimely death was the result of septic shock, due to endomyometritis, a uterus-related blood infection. 6 For Holly, this complication occurred seven days after the termination of her pregnancy was initiated through the use of a non-FDA approved medicinal abortion regimen prescribed to her by Planned Parenthood. 7 As her father, Monty, put it, "medical abortion is promoted as safe and effective," however "[t]he information [Holly] was able to obtain about medical abortion cost her life." 8

Unfortunately, Holly's story is not as uncommon as one might think. The United States Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") reported in 2011 that 14 ...
 
 
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