The Louisiana House Committee on Health and Welfare voted unanimously Wednesday to pass a bill that would implement regulations on clinics that provide abortions similar to those recently passed by the Oklahoma legislature, and ones implemented in Texas that have had a devastating effect on reproductive health-care access in the state.
HB 388, sponsored by Rep. Katrina Jackson (D-Monroe), would require abortion providers to gain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where they perform abortions. Louisiana currently has five clinics that provide abortion care. Reproductive rights advocates say it would immediately close three of those clinics, leaving the only clinics that provide abortions in Shreveport.
The legislation would also impose restrictions on medication abortion, requiring a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion can be induced with medication, and implementing a reporting requirement for providers.
Physicians who provide abortions in Louisiana are already required to register with the state if they perform more than five abortions per month, but this bill would require a physician to register with the state if they perform more than five abortions in one calendar year. This could cause some physicians in private practice to register with the state, making their names, location, and status as an abortion provider all publicly available information.
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During the committee hearing, proponents of the bill claimed that it is intended to protect women’s health. But those who opposed the bill noted that the bill would restrict women’s access to reproductive health care. Organizations such as the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have opposed these types of regulations as medically unnecessary.
The legislation, reportedly backed by Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, has now moved to the house for a floor vote; it is expect to pass.