Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Louisiana governor signs bill classifying abortion pills as controlled dangerous substances

By 37ci3 May25,2024



The policy has drawn support from anti-abortion advocates and alarm from medical professionals and abortion rights activists in a state where both medication and surgical abortion are illegal except in very limited circumstances.

President Joe Biden said in a statement Thursday that the bill was “extraordinary” and a “direct result of Trump overturning Roe v. Wade.”

“This is a scary time for women across America,” Biden said, adding that if Trump is re-elected, he will “try to make what happened in states like Louisiana happen nationally.”

Medical experts opposed the measure, saying the drugs have critical uses beyond abortion, including assisting labor and delivery, treating childbirth and preventing gastrointestinal ulcers.

The law also criminalizes “fraudulent forced abortion,” which prohibits knowingly using drugs to induce or attempt an abortion without a pregnant person’s consent. This is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and up to 20 years in prison if the person is pregnant for three months or more.

The division of drugs into controlled and dangerous categories was an amendment to the bill after it was first passed in the state Senate.

Republican state Sen. Thomas Pressley said during a debate Thursday that he introduced the bill after his sister Katherine Herring’s estranged husband put an abortion pill in her drink without her consent while she was pregnant with the couple’s third child.

Mason Herring pleaded guilty In February, he was sentenced to 180 days in prison on charges of injuring a child and assaulting a pregnant woman.

“We’re trying to limit these drugs so we can protect women and prevent bad actors from getting into them,” she said.

“Louisiana has been very clear, we don’t judge women when they seek an abortion,” she said. “But we are also very clear that abortion is not legal in Louisiana.”

The anti-abortion organization Louisiana Legal, which supported and helped write the bill, said in a statement that the law “will protect women like her sister for decades to come.”

State Sen. Royce Duplessis, a Democrat, said the bill could cause delays in care for women and listed the drugs’ non-abortive uses.

Opponents of the bill said the reclassification would require the drugs to be stored in certain facilities, which could hurt rural clinics’ ability to access and provide them to patients.

“It’s just not realistic to stand here and say there’s not going to be any difference in access to these drugs,” Duplessis said before the policy vote.

“The bill is very broad. We haven’t vetted it properly with the health community, and I believe it will cause more harm down the road,” he said.

“There’s a reason we’re at the bottom in terms of health. “There’s a reason we rank among the lowest in maternal health outcomes for women in this state,” she said.

Abortion is prohibited in Louisiana if it is necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman, to prevent a “serious risk” to her health, and if the fetus is not expected to survive the pregnancy. A the legislative committee rejected the bill this month would add rape and nepotism to the exceptions.

Doctors and reproductive rights advocates expressed concern over the law, which makes Louisiana the only state to classify the two drugs as controlled dangerous substances.

Director of the New Orleans Department of Health, emergency medicine doctor Dr. told NBC News on Tuesday. . “From a medical point of view, health professionals think it’s bad science and not well informed.”

“This is not about abortion. This is to use these drugs regularly, for many other things. Basically, #1, to facilitate a safe birth, #2, [for] miscarriage management,” she said.

Avegno is one of more than 250 doctors who said in a letter to Pressly that reclassifying the drugs would create a false impression that “these are dangerous drugs that require additional regulation” and that the proposal “is not scientifically sound.”



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