By Dave Andrusko
Hats off to Louisiana Right to Life. On Wednesday the Louisiana Senate Health and Welfare Committee unanimously passed the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act, authored by state Representative Katrina Jackson.
The legislation now moves on to the full Senate.
Rep. Jackson has continued to remind the legislature that HB 388 is “about the safety of women.” That point was driven home by Dr. Damon Cudihy, an OBGYN from Lafayette, Louisiana, who has treated women who have suffered from abortion complications.
Dr. Cudihy said that abortion facilities shouldn’t have “special interest loopholes” that sanction a lower standard of care than what ambulatory surgical centers must have.
There are a number of provisions to HB 388.
The bill requires “abortion providers” to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles. Louisiana law requires surgeons in facilities classified as “ambulatory surgical centers” to have admitting privileges at local hospitals so that the physician can admit and treat his patient if an emergency arises. The proposed law would require the same standard for surgical abortion providers. The bill tracks the language of a 2013 Texas law that was reinstated as “likely to succeed on the merits” by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals following a legal challenge by Planned Parenthood.
As the bill was being debated in the House, Rep. Jackson explained that under current Louisiana law an abortionist may
“perform up to 60 abortions a year before being subject to the health and safety inspections that are required of ‘licensed outpatient abortion facilities.’ Because every woman is entitled to the protection of regulated safety standards, this bill will require licensure for physicians who perform five or more abortions per year.”
Given that the number of chemical abortions is soaring, HB 388 also requires the same anonymous statistical reports be sent to the Department of Health and Hospitals for RU-486-induced abortions that are required of surgical abortions. In addition just as is the case with surgical abortions, women will wait 24 hours to have a chemical abortion under HB 388. Abortion clinics are required to report these abortions to the Department of Health and Hospitals.
As they always do, opponents said the law was unnecessary, and worse. “This is a dangerous bill that threatens women’s access to health care. It does nothing to protect women’s health and safety,” New Orleans lawyer Ellie Schilling said, according to the New Orleans Advocates. It would “severely limit access to safe and legal abortion services,” she said.
Supporters , such as Dr. Robert Marier, wondered “What objection could there be to such common sense regulations?” Dr, Marier has been executive director of the Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners.
“Louisiana is closer to a pro-life future, one that protects both women and unborn children,” said Benjamin Clapper, Executive Director of Louisiana Right to Life. “Louisiana Right to Life is thrilled that the Senate Health and Welfare Committee unanimously passed HB 388, which will give women the protection they deserve.”