Abortion clinics may soon be faced with more restrictions than ever before, potentially forcing three of the state’s five abortion clinics to close, thanks to legislation that has flown threw the Louisiana State Senate with bi-partisan support.
State Senators voted overwhelmingly, 34 to 3, in favor of HB388 which would mandate that abortionists have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic that deals with obstetrical and gynecological services. The legislation originally arose from similar legislation in Texas, causing more than two dozen abortion clinics in the Lone Star state to close their doors.
Supporters of the bill say it will is designed to protect the life of the mother, while opponents tried tirelessly to remove the section of the legislation that requires abortion clinics to be in miles of a hospital.
State Senate President Pro-tem Sharon Broome, like other proponents, argued that the legislation is designed to protect the health and life of women who may experience major medical issues during and after an abortion. Only Broome, who handled the bill on the state Senate floor, spoke for the bill.
Opponents claim that the restriction is harsher than one put on ambulatory surgical centers that perform more dangerous procedures and will lead to the closure of clinics in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Metairie. That would leave clinics only in Shreveport and Bossier City.
State Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, tried unsuccessfully to eliminate the hospital 30-mile radius requirement. He said it was arbitrary and could set a precedent in cases involving other medical procedures provided in doctor’s offices or clinics.
Sen. Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans), an opponent of the bill, said the bill will simply regulate women’s access to healthcare, saying on the Senate floor “You are reducing access to a legal surgical procedure.”
Now, the abortion-restrictive legislation heads to the full State House of Representatives for a vote and then to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s desk. Jindal has already said that he supports the bill.
State Rep. Katrina Jackson (D-Monroe), who chairs the Legislative Black Caucus, originally introduced the legislation.