2014 Press Releases

5.14.2014: LA Legislature Passes Texas-style Abortion Restriction

Unnecessary Requirement Could Close Women's Health Centers Across the State

BATON ROUGE, LA —The Louisiana Legislature has passed a Texas-style abortion restriction by advancing a medically unnecessary bill designed to close women's health centers across the state. The bill now goes to the governor for his signature.

"Once signed into law, this bill will make health care less accessible and force women back to the days of illegal and dangerous back-alley procedures," said Marjorie R. Esman, ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director. "No one's health will be improved by these unnecessary restrictions, which will make safe medical care unavailable to those who need it."

"Let me be clear: This law is not about women's health. It was designed by politicians – not doctors – to end access to safe, legal abortion," said Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. "Opponents are waging a stealth war on abortion, and it's women and families who pay the price."

Like the Texas law that has forced one-third of clinics in the state to close, the Louisiana bill singles out doctors who provide abortions and requires them alone to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Doctors and major medical groups, including the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, oppose these laws because they do little to further patient safety. Rather, they harm women by cutting off access to safe, legal abortions.

In addition to passing this bill, Louisiana legislators have introduced a number of other bill designed to create barriers to accessing abortion, including proposals that would:

The Texas-style bill, along with the others proposed, is part of a nationwide plan to pass restrictions that will shut down women's health centers and prevent women from accessing safe and legal abortions. In addition to the Texas law, which has left large portions of the state with no clinic and forced women to travel hundreds of miles to get the care they need, Mississippi, Alabama, and Wisconsin have recently passed similar laws. Those laws have been challenged. The Alabama case will go to trial May 19, and the Wisconsin case will go to trial May 27. The Mississippi law, which would force the only remaining clinic in the state to close, was argued before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal on April 28. The Oklahoma legislature is close to passing a similar bill.

Physicians who provide abortions are often unable to obtain hospital privileges for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with their experience, qualifications, or credentials, including the hospital's opposition to abortion and the hospital's financial interests.

More information on the Alabama case can be found at: https://www.aclu.org/reproductive-freedom/planned-parenthood-southeast-inc-reproductive-health-services-et-al-v-bentley

More information on the Wisconsin case can be found at: https://www.aclu.org/reproductive-freedom/planned-parenthood-wisconsin-v-van-hollen