This Week in Louisiana April 22 2016

This week several pieces of legislation worked their way through the legislature.

HB 402 (Rep. P. Smith) passed House Education Committee on Wednesday. This bill would allow anonymous, voluntary surveys of high school students (only) on their risk behaviors. The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) is a school-based survey developed by the CDC and conducted every two years. Louisiana is one of only two states that participate but do not collect sexual risk behavior data.

Having this public health data on all risk behaviors, including sexual health, would allow Louisiana to develop better public health policy and prevention strategies regarding unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases that are so high among young people. Also, by collecting this data, Louisiana can get access to more funding for effective health education in schools. To see the most recent YRBS report (2013) you can click here.

This bill is scheduled for House Floor debate Wednesday April 27

The House Health and Welfare Committee passed, without objections, four bills restricting access to family planning and abortion care.

HB606 (Rep. Hoffman) would prohibit state funding to family planning clinics that provide abortions. 

Public funding for abortions is already prohibited by federal law (Hyde Amendment) – so denying these clinics Medicaid or other state funding does not impact abortion – it only makes it harder for clinics to provide other services, such as birth control, cancer screenings and STI testing and treatment, to low-income individuals served by Medicaid and other subsidized programs.

This bill is scheduled for House Floor debate Wednesday April 27


HB1081 (Rep. Johnson) 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.

Although most women – 88% – have an abortion within the first 12-13 weeks, there are many reasons that some obtain abortions in later weeks.

For example, other pending legislation this session would impose a mandatory 72 hour waiting period on women seeking an abortion, which will push many more women into the timeframe in which this procedure is commonly used.

A study by University of Texas recently found that as abortion wait time increases, second trimester abortion could double. The earlier an abortion is provided the safer it is, because earlier abortions are less complicated.

This bill is scheduled for House Floor debate Thursday April 28


HB1019 (Rep. Edmonds) would ban abortions based on genetic abnormalities.

The bill provides a definition of “genetic abnormality” that is so broad that it would include abnormalities that could result in in problems such as an undeveloped brain, a severe metabolic disorder, or no working kidney that could cause the demise of the fetus before full-term or during birth. Other abnormalities could result in the birth of a child who will suffer gravely, who will die in infancy or who will have severe disabilities.  

The bill would also impact physicians, who would not be able to provide one-on- one counseling and care for women faced with a difficult and personal decision.

This bill is scheduled for House Floor debate Thursday April 28

HB815 (Rep. Stokes) changes the requirements for fetal disposition, and bans the use of fetal tissue for research when the tissue is obtained as a result of an induced abortion.

The bill includes exceptions on the transfer for diagnostic purposes and the allowance of donation in the event of a miscarriage or stillbirth.

This bill is scheduled for House Floor debate Wednesday April 27

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