Lift Louisiana Responds to New Restrictions on Abortion Nationally
In the weeks since the election, several pieces of extreme abortions restrictions have popped up across the country.
Texas, following the lead of Indiana and Louisiana, issued controversial new rules requiring the burial or cremation of fetal tissue, and will be the first state to enforce such a rules. The rules have no apparent exceptions for those who spontaneously abort at home, requiring women who have just suffered a miscarriage to gather fetal remains, “regardless of the period of gestation” per the law, for incineration or disinfection and interment. While Governor Greg Abbott recommends these regulations to promote the sanctity of life, medical and burial professionals deride them as expensive and unnecessary. Opponents also assert the rules will disproportionately affect women of color and low-income who already have trouble shouldering the costs of medical procedures, will discourage women from seeking medical attention in the event of a miscarriage, and will drive women to unsafe abortions.
“Forcing a woman to pay for a burial after she ends a pregnancy or experiences a miscarriage is cruel and shows an alarming disregard for women,” stated Michelle Erenberg, Executive Director of Lift Louisiana.
Currently, Louisiana’s law regarding the incineration and interment of fetal tissue is being opposed by Lift Louisiana and by The Center for Reproductive Rights.
On the desk of Ohio Governor John Kasich sits a bill that revises the laws governing child abuse reporting, which includes unrelated language banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, or around six weeks. In most cases, women do not know they are pregnant until their second missed period, meaning that abortion will be banned at a point before most women discover they are pregnant. As it is written, the bill provides no exceptions for rape, incest, or fetal anomalies usually discovered around the 21st week of pregnancy, and only an extremely narrow provision "to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman." Kasich stood in opposition of a similar bill in 2015, expressing concerns that the heartbeat bill is unconstitutional, and that any legal battle defending it would be costly to the state. North Dakota and Arkansas have previously had similar bills struck down by conservative courts, with the Supreme Court declining to hear the case of North Dakota’s ban.
These restrictions place an undue burden on those seeking an abortion, will ultimately decrease access to safe termination procedures and stand in contrast to the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt decision in July.
Lift Louisiana stands in solidarity with women, men, and people across the gender spectrum in Ohio, Texas, and elsewhere in the United States that find themselves needing access to abortion services. We will continue to fight restrictive laws in Louisiana and to push back against the stigma and misinformation that enable them.
by Evelyn Maguire