Louisiana Breaks Ground with Legislation on Abortion Pills

Louisiana Breaks Ground with Legislation on Abortion Pills
Louisiana Breaks Ground with Legislation on Abortion Pills. Credit | AP

United States – Louisiana has made a precedent of being the first state to enact legislation regulating abortion pills as dangerous controlled substances.

Should the bill become law, as expected, Gov. Jeff Landry could soon make it unlawful to possess the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol without a prescription; violators face fines and/or jail terms, as reported by HealthDay.

Medical Community Protests

Louisiana already has a policy that almost prohibits abortions; thus, the medications that are used for miscarriages and ulcers are only available in that state through special conditions.

Medical practitioners protested against the bill, stating that it triggered risks.

“This is going to take it and make it more difficult to utilize it safely and legally,” the letter’s organizer, Dr. Jennifer Avegno, director of Health for New Orleans, said to the New York Times. ‘It will generate confusion, fear, barriers to use these drugs for all its indications other than abortion.’

However, Republicans and anti-abortion groups said that those in the abortion rights groups are making up the intensity of the law, the Times pointed out.

Political Divide and Response

“This legislation does NOT prohibit these drugs from being prescribed and dispensed in Louisiana for legal and legitimate reasons,” State Attorney General Liz Murrill posted on social media.

Abortion opponents have on many occasions said that the abortion pills are not safe, which they have said and used in a lawsuit before the United States Supreme Court, which aims at reducing the availability of mifepristone, the first drug in the two-drug regimen of medication abortion that has become popular and is used in nearly two-thirds of the abortions in the United States of America.

Some of the many patients from Louisiana or other states with abortion bans have sought their medical procedures cross-state, in states that still allow abortions, or else have received prescriptions and pills from doctors and nurses in other states under legal protections called shield laws. Such methods of procuring abortions are not likely to be changed by the new bill, according to the Times.

Impact and Legal Ramifications

David Cohen, a law professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia, speaking to the Times, said that there might be only a few people who will fall under the bill’s dangerous jurisdiction: individuals who help disseminate nonprescription pills to some communities and women who get abortion pills for backup in case of getting pregnant.

“It may make some people think twice, and it may expose some people to criminal prosecution who right now are not exposed,” he said. But, “this is not going to stop people in Louisiana from getting and using abortion pills,” he noted, as reported by HealthDay.

Challenges and Future Outlook

However, Michelle Erenberg of Lift Louisiana, an organization that seeks to protect reproductive rights, admitted that the groups supporting abortion would consider filing a legal case against the bill.

“I definitely have concerns about this being replicated in other states,” she told the Times.