[JURIST] The Louisiana State Legislature [official website] approved a bill [HB 388, text] on Wednesday that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. If the bill becomes law, it will likely shut down [NYT report] three of the state's five abortion clinics. Proponents of the bill argue [Louisiana Right to Life press release] that admitting privileges requirements further the objective of promoting women's health. However, critics contend [Planned Parenthood press release] that bills like HB 388 are thinly-veiled attempts to outlaw abortions entirely:
[HB 388] was passed under the guise of protecting patient safety but it does the opposite. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that abortion has over a 99 percent safety record. For patients' safety, providers already have plans in place in case of an emergency.Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal [official website] plans to sign the bill into law.
Abortion [JURIST news archive] has been a hotly contested issue within the ongoing debate surrounding reproductive rights [JURIST backgrounder]. Last week Missouri lawmakers approved a bill [JURIST report] to extend the waiting period for an abortion from 24 to 72 hours. In a recent article JURIST Guest Columnist LaJuana Davis of the Cumberland School of Law evaluated [JURIST op-ed] the implications of legislative efforts in Alabama and other states to restrict access to abortions. In April the Florida Senate approved a bill [JURIST report] that would prevent most abortions after the fetus reaches viability. The legislation would require the doctor to conduct an exam before performing an abortion to determine if the fetus is viable. Also in April Mississippi enacted a law [JURIST report] banning abortions 20 weeks after a woman's last menstrual period, or as early as 18 weeks of pregnancy. Earlier that month a judge for the US District Court for the District of North Dakota overturned [JURIST report] a North Dakota law prohibiting abortions as soon as the fetus has a detectable heartbeat. The law would have disallowed abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy before the fetus is considered viable and was therefore struck down [JURIST report] as unconstitutional.