News Abortion

Louisiana Legislators Force Three-Day Wait on Patients Seeking Abortion Care

Teddy Wilson

Amanda Allen, senior state legislative counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement that the bill is “insulting” for pregnant people seeking abortion care.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) on Thursday signed a bill that tripled the state’s forced waiting period for people seeking abortion care, reported the Associated Press

Edwards made no public statement upon signing the bill. 

HB 386, sponsored by Rep. Frank Hoffmann (R-West Monroe), would extend the waiting period for a patient seeking an abortion from 24 hours to 72 hours.

Pregnant people would continue to be exempt from the mandatory waiting period and forced counseling—instituted in 2014—in the case of a medical emergency. Under state law, a medical emergency is defined as when the “continuation of the pregnancy poses an immediate threat and grave risk to the life or permanent physical health of the pregnant woman.”

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The bill includes an exception for pregnant people who certify in writing that they live at least 150 miles from the nearest licensed clinic that provides abortion services. They would be forced to comply with a 24-hour waiting period, not a 72-hour waiting period.

The house passed the bill in April in a 89-5 vote. The measure breezed through the state senate Wednesday with a 34-4 vote. The bill received bipartisan support in both chambers.

Louisiana joins five other states that force pregnant people to wait three days to receive abortion care. Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Utah all have 72-hour waiting periods.

Utah’s 72-hour forced waiting period doesn’t dissuade the vast majority of those seeking abortion care, according to a study published in March. The research concluded that the waiting period just makes the procedure more difficult and expensive to obtain.

A pregnant person should be provided with abortion care as soon as possible once the decision is made to terminate a pregnancy, according to recommendations by the World Health Organization.

Amanda Allen, senior state legislative counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement that the bill is “insulting” for pregnant people seeking abortion care.

“Anti-choice politicians in the state have methodically restricted access to abortion and neglected to advance policies that truly address the challenges women and families face every day,” Allen said.

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