LA Senate Passes Texas-style Abortion Restriction

Affiliate: ACLU of Louisiana
May 13, 2014 12:00 am

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Unnecessary Requirement Could Close Women’s Health Centers Across the State

May 14, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: 212-549-2666, media@aclu.org

Baton Rouge, La. – The Louisiana Senate has passed a Texas-style abortion restriction by advancing a medically unnecessary bill designed to close women’s health centers across the state. The bill now goes to the governor for his signature.

“Leading medical groups have been clear: This law hurts women. It doesn’t make us safer,” said Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project. “It’s deeply distressing that politicians continue to pass these laws, against the advice of health care professionals, for the sake of politics. Just like in Texas, it’s women and families who will suffer.”

Like the Texas law that has forced one-third of clinics in the state to close, the Louisiana bill singles out doctors who provide abortions and requires them alone to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Doctors and major medical groups, including the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, oppose these laws because they do little to further patient safety. Rather, they harm women by cutting off access to safe, legal abortions.

In addition to passing this bill, Louisiana legislators have introduced a number of other bill designed to create barriers to women’s private medical decision-making, including proposals that would:

  • require doctors to keep a brain-dead pregnant woman on life-support, even against her or her family’s wishes (HB 1274);
  • require doctors to provide medically inaccurate information about the risks of abortion (HB 1262 and HB 727); and
  • prohibit employees or representatives of an organization that provides abortion from providing materials related to sexual health in schools (HB 305)

The Texas-style bill, along with the others proposed, is part of a nationwide plan to pass restrictions that will shut down women’s health centers and prevent women from accessing safe and legal abortions. In addition to the Texas law, which has left large portions of the state with no clinic and forced women to travel hundreds of miles to get the care they need, Mississippi, Alabama, and Wisconsin have passed similar laws. Those laws have been challenged. The Alabama case will go to trial May 19, and the Wisconsin case will go to trial May 27. The Mississippi law, which would force the only remaining clinic in the state to close, was argued before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on April 28. The Oklahoma legislature is close to passing a similar bill.

Physicians who provide abortions are often unable to obtain hospital privileges for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with their experience, qualifications, or credentials, including the hospital’s opposition to abortion and the hospital’s financial interests.

More information on the Alabama case can be found at:
aclu.org/reproductive-freedom/planned-parenthood-southeast-inc-reproductive-health-services-et-al-v-bentley

More information on the Wisconsin case can be found at:
aclu.org/reproductive-freedom/planned-parenthood-wisconsin-v-van-hollen

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