Louisiana governor signs bill reclassifying two abortion drugs as low-tier controlled substances News
Elisa Rolle, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Louisiana governor signs bill reclassifying two abortion drugs as low-tier controlled substances

Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry on Friday signed a bill that reclassifies two abortion-inducing drugs as Schedule IV controlled substances. The governor’s approval of Senate Bill 276 makes Louisiana the first state in the US to classify the two drugs, Mifepristone and Misoprostol, as controlled substances.

The bill provides for the general penalty for possession of Mifepristone or Misoprostol to be imprisonment of one to five years with the possibility of hard labor. It is also punishable by a fine of at most $5,000. The bill also criminalizes causing another’s abortion by fraud. A person causing another’s abortion by fraud can face penalties of 10 to 20 years of imprisonment with hard labor and a fine of $100,000.

Landry stated:

Requiring an abortion inducing drug to be obtained with a prescription and criminalizing the use of an abortion drug on an unsuspecting mother is nothing short of common sense. This bill protects women across Louisiana and I was proud to sign this bill into law today.

Louisiana has defined Schedule IV controlled substances to be substances with “a low potential for abuse” and causing “limited physical dependence or psychological dependence” relative to drugs from Louisiana’s higher three schedules of its five-tier scheduling category. The substance must also have “currently accepted medical use in treatment in the [US].”

According to Planned Parenthood, Mifepristone stops pregnancy development and Misoprostol causes cramping and bleeding to empty the uterus. An individual consuming Mifepristone and then Misoprostol within 48 hours will effectively terminate their pregnancy. The abortion drugs are usually used within 11 weeks after the first day of a pregnant person’s last period.

Senate Bill 276 passed the Louisiana legislature on Thursday, two years after the US Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned nearly 50 years of the court’s precedent that recognized and protected a constitutional right to abortion prior to viability at 24 weeks.

The law will take effect on October 1.