On May 22nd, HB 388, the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act, passed the Louisiana Legislature by overwhelming, bipartisan margins. HB 388 is critical for Louisiana because women are often harmed by sloppy abortionists who are more interested in the $450 they receive from each abortion, than the health and safety of their patient.
HB 388 requires abortionists to attain admitting privileges within 30 miles of their facility, clarifies that the “Women’s Right to Know” law applies to chemical, as well as surgical abortions, and requires doctors who perform more than five abortions a year to maintain proper licensing.
The author of the bill, Rep. Katrina Jackson, was heavily criticized for her leadership and determination to get the legislation passed. This is because she is a Democratic, African American woman who is proudly pro-life.
One of the first to criticize Rep. Jackson’s bill was none other than Cecile Richards, the President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. In a May 28th article, Richards claimed that women disapproved of HB 388. She said that politicians are attacking women’s health by restricting access to abortion and women won’t stand for this. However, Richards overlooked the fact that HB 388 is for women and by women. The legislation was drafted with the legal expertise of a Bioethics Defense Fund attorney who happens to be a woman. The bill was supported by the committee testimony of Kathy Kleibert, the woman who serves as Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. A woman representative, Sharon Weston Broome (D-Baton Rouge), carried HB 388 on the Senate side and two-thirds of the women members in the legislative body voted in support of this bill.
It is quite obvious that as the head of the largest provider of elective abortion in the nation, Richards and Planned Parenthood have a financial interest in opposing laws that require abortion providers to meet the same standard of care expected of any other surgical facility.
Another criticism of HB 388 was that it would negatively affect the African-American community. This came to light during the Louisiana House Health and Welfare Committee meeting on March 19th. According to the Christian Post, pro-abortion advocates and abortion clinic employees testified that, among all women, abortion benefits black women the most.
“The No. 1 genocide in the African-American community, and why we’re becoming a minority of minorities, is because most of our babies are dying in the womb from abortions.
The comments regarding African-American women were that abortion helped them make a choice when they couldn’t take care of their child. And I told them that wasn’t a cure. If you want to really cure the situation that’s going on socioeconomically with everyone, you do that by supporting measures that give people a hand up, and not a handout.”
She continued by saying, “I’m very passionate, especially when you’re looking at the African-American community, because those in the pro-choice community have been attempting to sell us on abortion being a way out for women who can’t afford to have their baby.”
Some African American women disagreed with Jackson’s stand on HB 388. One voice was New Orleans Council Woman, LaToya Cantrell. She said “access to care is particularly important in low-income communities and communities of color.”
However, it is important for pro-lifers to remember that abortion kills African American unborn babies at a startling rate. Since 1973, 13 million black babies have been lost because of abortion, and according to the Center for Disease Control, out of the approximately 4000 abortions that are performed daily in the United States, 1452 of them are performed on African American women and their unborn children.
Furthermore, abortion rates for African American teenagers are four times the rate of white teens. A 2008 report found that on average, 41 in 1,000 pregnancies among Black women (ages 15-19) are terminated compared to 10 among white women and 20 among Latinas.
The truth of the matter is, HB 388 is not a “war on women”, and it will help protect African Americans, as well as the rest of Louisiana women from unsafe abortion.