This Week in Louisiana April 1 2016
On Wednesday, the Louisiana House Health and Welfare Committee passed, with no objections, new restrictions on abortion access.
Extending the waiting period before having the procedure from 24 hours to 72 hours
Five other states have passed a 72 hour waiting period in recent years (Utah, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Missouri and North Carolina). A recent study in Utah showed that the “mandatory 72-hour waiting period, imposed between the time of the information visit and the date of the abortion, did little to dissuade women from a decision they had already made and were ready to implement. Instead, women were faced with increased financial burden, as well as increased anxiety and additional logistical challenges involved in arranging two visits to the clinic.”
Changes to the qualifications of physicians who perform elective abortions
(Note: this bill was amended to address concerns about teaching and training concerns for medical schools)
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (the College) supports women’s access to safe abortion care, which hinges upon the availability of sufficient numbers of trained abortion providers. To increase the availability of trained abortion providers, the College opposes restrictions that limit abortion provision to physicians only or obstetrician–gynecologists only.
The bills will be voted on next week by the full House of Representatives.
The Senate Education Committee rejected a bill which would authorize the state Dept. of Education and the Dept. of Health and Hospitals to conduct the Youth Risk Behavior Survey for sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV infection. A similar bill is in the House but has not bee scheduled for a hearing yet.
The Senate Committee did pass the Louisiana Expectant and Parenting Students Act which would support pregnant and parenting students to reduce the dropout rate among teen mother. The bill is scheduled for a vote by the full Senate next week.
Finally, there is good news for improving the economic outcomes of women and children in Louisiana. The Senate Labor Committee passed an Equal Pay bill that would strengthen and expand protections for employees.Women in Louisiana only make 65% of what men make – making us dead last in the nation. Two other bills passed out of that committee this week. One would modestly increase the minimum wage over the next two years to $8.50 per hour. The other would allow cities to pass increases in the minimum wage without the state interfering. All three of these bills will be voted on by the full house soon.