Yesterday afternoon, the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act (H.B.388), authored by Representative Katrina Jackson (D-Monroe), was filed in the Louisiana Legislature. The legislation proposes common sense regulations on the abortion industry to protect the lives and safety of pregnant women.
Louisiana Right to Life and the Bioethics Defense Fund have worked with Representative Jackson to prepare the legislation. Text of the legislation can be found online at the Legislature’s website.
The Unsafe Abortion Protection Act has three main components:
- The Act will require abortion providers to have admitting privileges within 30 miles of a local hospital. The surgical instruments and procedures used to forcibly terminate a healthy pregnancy subject women to dangerous risks that have often resulted in death and other serious complications. 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. A final ruling, which legal analysts expect to be favorable, is expected this Spring.
- The Act will clarify that informed consent protections apply to both surgical abortion, as well as to RU-486 chemical abortion. This portion of the bill clarifies that physicians in both private offices as well as in licensed outpatient abortion facilities owe women the same informed consent protections and 24-hour reflection period, whether the abortion is surgical or chemical. These protections include a department of health booklet that depicts the development of the unborn child, the short and long-term medical risks of abortion, information on agencies that provide alternatives, and the opportunity to view an ultrasound and hear the heartbeat of the unborn child.
- The Act will require doctors who perform more than five abortions a year to maintain proper licensing. Current Louisiana law allows physicians to perform 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 and inspections for physicians who perform five or more abortions per year.
Dorinda Bordlee, senior counsel of the Bioethics Defense Fund, who assisted Jackson in the drafting of the bill, stated:
Benjamin Clapper, Executive Director of Louisiana Right to Life said the following:
“The Unsafe Abortion Protection Act will protect Louisiana women from Gosnell-like abortionists who are often concerned only with the $450 they will receive from each abortion. Louisiana must ensure the safety of women through this common sense legislation that ensures surgical abortion facilities are held to the same safety standards of other outpatient surgical facilities in Louisiana.”
H.B. 388 is one of the two pieces of pro-life legislation Louisiana Right to Life is sponsoring in the 2014 Legislative Session. HB 305 by Representative Frank Hoffman provides that no individual or organization that performs elective abortion or its affiliates may provide instruction or materials in public elementary and secondary schools or in charter schools that receive state funding.