Louisiana Abortion Facility Regulations Go Into Effect

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 24, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Louisiana Abortion Facility Regulations Go Into Effect

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
November 24, 2003

Baton Rouge, LA (LifeNews.com) — New regulations on abortion facilities went into effect last week in Louisiana. When the state legislature passed the new pro-life law, their goal was to protect women from dangerous abortions by requiring abortion facilities to comply with the same regulations that govern reputable medical centers.

The outgrowth of the law may be the closure of abortion centers as they find it increasingly difficult to stay in business. They will also be forced to close if they fail to obtain a state license.

Last Thursday was the deadline for abortion facilities to apply for a state license from the state Department of Health and Hospitals.

There are 10 abortion businesses currently operated in Louisiana. Out of the ten, only three submitted their paperwork on time.

Bob Johannessen, DHH spokesman said the abortion businesses "will be regulated and inspected like any on-site medical treatment facility. It’s to ensure the health and safety of the women who seek these services."

Pro-life groups say the laws are necessary.

"The abortion industry has gone completely unregulated for over 30 years in Louisiana and in the vast majority of state," Dorinda Bordlee, a staff attorney at Americans United for Life, told LifeNews.com. "The filthy clinic conditions and the serious malpractice committed against women’s health that prompted this legislation shows that the back alley has been alive and well for the last thirty years to the detriment of women’s health."

The regulation law covers everything from having proper plans for medical care before and after the abortion, proper construction of the building, to having medical records stored properly. They will also be subject to periodic inspections by the state and DHH will begin inspections soon.

Those that do not obtain a license will be forced to close until they have one. Performing abortions without a license can result in significant fines from $1,000 to $5,000 per day.

Legislators passed the law after a woman was injured by a botched abortion in 1997 and her attorneys found no regulations on the books governing the facilities. Also, a local television station expose revealed the shoddy conditions at one abortion business.

However, abortion advocates could try to overturn the law in the courts.

"The question now is whether Louisiana abortion clinics will comply with these new regulations by getting licensed with the Department of Health & Hospitals, or whether they will file suit to defy these health and sanitary regulations as they’ve done across the nation," Bordlee added.

Bordlee cited the Arizona abortion clinic regulations case which will be argued by AUL attorneys Denise Burke and Nikolas T. Nikas in the U.S. Ninth Circuit on December 4.