Louisiana House passes sweeping abortion restrictions in the name of women's "safety"

The state seems poised to pass Texas-style restrictions that will likely shutter clinics, opponents say

By Katie McDonough
Published April 1, 2014 9:24PM (EDT)
  (Reuters/Stephen Lam)
(Reuters/Stephen Lam)

Lawmakers in Louisiana voted Monday to pass a set of sweeping abortion restrictions that threaten to shutter three of the state's five clinics, all in the name of protecting women's "safety."

Because apparently limiting access to basic medical services is safer than having robust access to basic medical services.

Democratic Rep. Katrina Jackson, who sponsored the measure that passed in the House, said that the bill is intended to protect the “safety of women.” The proposal is remarkably similar to what lawmakers in Texas, Ohio and other states have passed in recent years, and includes provisions requiring physicians to obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and imposing a 30-day waiting period on surgical abortion.

As Teddy Wilson at RH Reality Check reports, the measure also includes a provision to require physicians to register with the state if they perform five abortions a year. As Wilson notes, physicians who perform five abortions a month are currently required to register with the state; their information -- including their names and the location of their practice -- is included in a public state registry.

Kathaleen Pittman -- administrator of the Hope Medical Group for Women, which provides abortion services in Shreveport -- told RH Reality Check that the new law would likely leave the clinic with a just a single physician to provide abortion services. If the measure closes other clinics, as it is expected to do, the demand could overwhelm the practice, forcing people seeking abortion care to wait longer and potentially access services later in pregnancy, when the risk of complications and cost of care increase, she notes. "[The measure in] no way improves the health and safety of women of Louisiana,” she added.

The House voted 85-6 to approve the bill.


Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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Abortion Abortion Care Abortion Services Louisiana Reproductive Health Reproductive Rights