Stay granted for new abortion drug rules; EPA failed to disclose cancer risks in tests

April 2
ARIZONA
Stay granted for new abortion-drug rules

A federal appeals court has granted a preliminary injunction to temporarily block the country’s most stringent restrictions on the use of abortion drugs.

In the latest in a series of court fights over Arizona abortion laws, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit granted Planned Parenthood Arizona’s motion Wednesday.

Planned Parenthood filed an appeal after a federal judge in Tucson refused to stop the new rules, just hours before they were to go into effect Tuesday.

The rules banned women from taking the most common abortion-inducing drug — RU-486 — after the seventh week of pregnancy. Existing rules allow women to take the abortion pill through nine weeks.

— Associated Press

HEALTH
EPA did not disclose cancer risks in tests

An internal investigation issued Wednesday found that the Environmental Protection Agency did not disclose long-term cancer risks and a small chance of death to 81 human test subjects who consented to breathe in ­diesel exhaust and other pollutants during experiments.

The inspector general’s report said that at least some people participating in five studies conducted in 2010 and 2011 would like to have known whether a study involves a chance of death, no matter how small.

Although diesel fumes include 19 potentially cancer-causing substances, an EPA manager said cancer risk was irrelevant because subjects were exposed for two-hour periods. Cancer usually develops over years of exposure.

The EPA agreed to disclose all risks on future consent forms.

— Associated Press

HEALTH
Hobby Lobby invests in birth control

The company leading the legal challenge against birth-control coverage under the new health-care law offers its workers a retirement plan that includes investments in companies making contraceptives and abortion drugs.

Hobby Lobby Stores has a 401(k) plan featuring several mutual funds investing in pharmaceutical firms that produce intrauterine birth-control devices, emergency contraceptive pills and drugs used in abortion procedures, according to Labor Department documents and a review of fund portfolios.

A spokeswoman did not immediately respond to an inquiry.

— Associated Press

Wash. mudslide toll rises to 29: A county medical examiner has increased the death toll in the Washington state mudslide to 29. That’s one more victim than had been reported Tuesday, but the number officially identified by the Snohomish County medical examiner’s office on Wednesday remains at 22. And 20 people are still listed as missing from the March 22 slide that broke off a steep hill, roared across the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River and buried a community at Oso, about 55 miles north of Seattle.

Pa. top court rejects Sandusky appeal: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Wednesday said it would not review Jerry Sandusky’s child molestation conviction, but other legal avenues remain open to the former Penn State assistant football coach. Sandusky had asked the state’s top court to take up his 45-count conviction, arguing his lawyers were rushed too quickly to trial in 2012 and that prosecutors improperly made reference to his decision not to testify.

Border Patrol moves more agents to Texas border: More than 100 Border Patrol agents from California and Arizona have been shifted to the southernmost tip of Texas, the country’s busiest sector for illegal immigration, the agency announced Wednesday. While arrests of immigrants who have entered the United States illegally have fallen or stabilized on other parts of the border, they’ve soared in South Texas, driven in large part by immigrants from Central America.

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