White House condemns Louisiana law criminalizing abortion providers with no exceptions for rape or incest

The White House has condemned “radical” and “extreme” legislation in Louisiana that would impose jail terms and hefty fines on abortion providers and shut down the state’s three remaining clinics if the US Supreme Court overturns it Deer vs Wade Decision as expected in the coming days.

Senate Bill 342, authored by anti-abortion Democratic Senator Katrina Jackson, clarifies the state’s dozens of restrictive abortion laws to effectively ban all abortion treatment beyond the moment of “fertilization and implantation.” It makes no exception for rape or incest.

Louisiana’s Democratic anti-abortion Gov. John Bel Edwards — who said last week he opposes laws that don’t make exceptions for rape or incest — is expected to sign the law into law.

The law passed the state Senate and House of Representatives on June 5, just before the end of the state legislative session.

“The Louisiana Legislature has taken the latest step in a growing assault on Americans’ fundamental liberties,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean Pierre said in a statement June 6.

President Joe Biden is “committed to protecting the constitutional rights of Americans roe for nearly 50 years, ensuring women can make their own decisions about their lives, their bodies and their families,” she said.

“An overwhelming majority of the American people both agree and oppose these kinds of radical measures,” she added, citing several recent polls that found a large majority of Americans support safeguards for abortion access.

The latest measure in Louisiana would impose up to 10 years in prison for abortion providers or anyone found guilty of performing an abortion, along with a fine of no less than $10,000. An abortion performed later in pregnancy can carry a 15-year prison sentence plus a minimum $20,000 fine if found guilty.

Although the bill includes language that specifically exempts abortion patients from prosecution, opponents have warned that the bill could put both abortion providers and patients under the state’s homicide laws at risk.

Senator Jackson’s bill also requires two doctors to diagnose procedures that are also common in people who experience miscarriage as medically necessary — despite the limited availability of obstetric services in hospitals, gynecologists, birth centers and other maternal health care providers.

Such restrictions are likely to make it difficult for many pregnant women who want an abortion to find one and force them to carry medically dangerous pregnancies to term.

Louisiana already has some of the most restrictive laws regulating abortion treatment — with some of the worst rates of child poverty and poor maternal health — in the United States.

Without access to legal services in the state, abortion patients must travel further than patients in any other state to access legal services, as far away as Illinois, New Mexico or North Carolina.

if Deer vs Wade is repealed, Louisiana and at least 12 other states would make abortion screening illegal with so-called “trigger” laws once roe has tipped over.

Louisiana patients already have to undergo an ultrasound and a state-mandated consultation, and then wait 24 hours before an appointment — meaning patients must make at least two visits to clinics within the state. Patients are already facing longer waits for a first appointment — up to four weeks in some cases — as Texas patients are treated in neighboring states under restrictive laws in that state.

Abortions in Louisiana are also not covered for patients with health insurance plans through the state’s Affordable Care Act interchange.

Patients also cannot use telemedicine appointments to obtain prescriptions for medical abortion — the overwhelmingly most common form of abortion, which requires a two-pill combination of mifepristone and misoprostol, which are also commonly used to treat miscarriage.

Louisiana lawmakers also approved a measure banning such drugs by mail. This bill would criminalize the supply or distribution of such drugs.

The legislation follows a wave of anti-abortion measures tabled by Republican lawmakers this year, encouraged by the upcoming Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organizationn, which involves a constitutional challenge to a Mississippi statute that bans most abortions at 15 weeks gestation — several weeks below the “viable” threshold of 24 to 24 weeks established by the 1973 decision Roe.

A leaked draft opinion by conservative judge Samuel Alito would overturn Roe and his affirmative decision in the 1992s Planned Parenthood vs. Casey.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.