Louisiana Governor Signs Ban on Most Common Method of Second Trimester Abortion

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(PRESS RELEASE)  Less than two weeks after signing a measure which triples the state’s mandatory waiting period from 24 to 72 hours for nearly all women seeking abortion services, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D) signed a measure (HB 1081) into law which bans the most common method of ending a pregnancy in the second trimester. 

“In a state with extremely limited options for women seeking reproductive health care, it’s unconscionable that Louisiana politicians are working overtime to pile on additional restrictions,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

“Louisiana women already face countless obstacles when they have made the decision to end a pregnancy, and these measures will only drive safe, legal, high-quality care out of reach for many women.  Yet again, we call upon Louisiana politicians to stop interfering in women’s personal decisions and to stop their attacks on women’s constitutional rights and access to essential health care.”

This ban is only one of numerous measures currently moving through the Louisiana legislature this session which restrict women’s access to safe, legal reproductive healthcare.  Other bills currently under consideration include a measure (HB 815) which could effectively ban medication abortion in the state by imposing impossible requirements on women who complete their medication abortion outside of a doctor’s office and a bill (HB 1019) which polices a woman’s reason for needing to end a pregnancy by banning abortion in cases of genetic abnormalities.

Louisiana women already face myriad obstacles when they need abortion services, including a 24 mandatory delay and a Texas-style clinic shutdown law which requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital—a measure that remains blocked because of an order from the U.S. Supreme Court obtained by the Center for Reproductive Rights in March 2016.

Bans of this nature face strong opposition.  West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D) vetoed a similar measure earlier this year while courts in Kansas and Oklahoma have already blocked similar measures due to challenges brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights.  Additionally, major medical groups oppose these types of bans.  In an amicus brief opposing the Kansas measure, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) stated that the ban “raises serious safety and health concerns for women as well as intrudes unnecessarily into the patient-physician relationship.”  Despite this opposition, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant (R) signed a similar measure into law last month while the West Virginia legislature voted to override Governor Tomblin’s veto.  

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