This Week in Louisiana...
This week, advocates testified before the Senate Health and Welfare Committee in opposition to HB 386 (Rep. Hoffman), which would triple the state’s existing waiting period, forcing women seeking abortions to wait at least 72 hours between obtaining state-mandated counseling and the abortion. Health care providers and advocates say that forcing women to delay their abortions does absolutely nothing to protect their health and in fact can jeopardize their health.
The longer wait imposed by this bill will result in delays in obtaining an abortion which can lead women to obtain procedures that can be more complicated, lengthy, and certainly more expensive. The delay also increases the cost of an abortion if a woman has to take off from work, arrange child care or stay overnight when the distance to the clinic is too great.
Newly published research on the impact of a similar law in Utah found that the waiting period requirement did not appear to change women’s minds on their decision to have an abortion- most women who came to the informational visit were not conflicted about their decision- but did impose financial and logistical burdens on accessing abortion care. For some women these challenges meant that they had to disclose their abortion to people that they otherwise would not have, such as bosses and coworkers.
Over the past five years, Louisiana has introduced 23 restrictions on abortion services, many of which have become law. Each year, brings more bills and this year is no exception.
This is the status of several other proposals that the Louisiana legislature is considering this year.
HB606 (Rep. Hoffman) – passed the House 85 – 7 on Wednesday April 27th
This bill would prohibit state funding to family planning clinics that provide abortions.
HB1081 (Rep. Johnson) – passed the House 83 – 0 on Thursday April 28th
This bill would ban the most common procedure for second-trimester abortions. This procedure is evidence-based and medically preferred because it results in the fewest complications for women compared to alternative procedures.
HB1019 (Rep. Edmonds) – passed the House 75 – 1 on Thursday April 28th
This bill would ban abortions based on genetic abnormalities, including those that could cause the demise of the fetus before full-term or during birth.
HB 402 (Rep. P. Smith) is scheduled for House Floor debate Tuesday May 3rd.
This bill would allow anonymous, voluntary surveys of high school students (only) on their risk behaviors.