Louisiana governor signs into law new abortion restrictions

NEW ORLEANS Thu Jun 12, 2014 4:17pm EDT

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal makes remarks to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Oxon Hill, Maryland, March 6, 2014.   REUTERS/Mike Theiler

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal makes remarks to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Oxon Hill, Maryland, March 6, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Theiler

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NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signed new restrictions on abortion clinics into law on Thursday, a move his critics have said will force three of the state's five clinics to close.

The measure, one of two abortion-related bills signed by the Republican governor, requires physicians who perform the procedure to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles (48 km) of the place where the abortion is performed. Abortion rights advocates say some providers will not be able to meet that standard.

“These new laws will give women the health and safety protections they deserve, and continue to make Louisiana a state that values individual human life,” Jindal said in a statement.

Supporters in Louisiana and other states that have adopted similar restrictions say they are aimed at protecting women's health.

Oklahoma's governor signed such a measure last month. Similar laws have taken effect in five states: Kansas, North Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Texas, where about a third of abortion clinics have closed since that state's law took effect late last year after legal battles. Laws have been blocked in Alabama, Mississippi and Wisconsin pending the outcome of court challenges.

Abortion rights groups say the provision is unnecessary because abortion complications are rare and tend to be similar to those of a miscarriage, which often are treated by emergency room physicians.

“We all want women to be safe, but this law doesn’t protect women’s health,” said Jennifer Dalven, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Reproductive Freedom Project.

Melissa Flournoy, Louisiana director for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, has predicted that at least three of the state's clinics could close because of the law. The Hope Medical Group for Women, an abortion clinic in the northwestern Louisiana city of Shreveport that expects to stay open despite the new restrictions, has already seen an influx of patients from Texas, said its director, Kathaleen Pittman.

"We're going to accommodate as many patients as we can," Pittman said.

The other bill signed by Jindal on Thursday will bar abortion providers from giving health instruction or materials in public schools or in charter schools that receive state funding. 

(Additional reporting by Lisa McDermott in Texarkana, Arkansas; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, David Gregorio and Peter Cooney)

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Comments (16)
I can’t decide which slogan is more apt for the GOP:

“Government so small, it can regulate the inside of a woman’s vagina!”

“Because no one knows women’s health like a bunch of prudish old men!”

Jun 12, 2014 2:20pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
REnninga wrote:
Quoting the article: “Supporters in Louisiana and other states that have adopted such laws say they are aimed at protecting women’s health.”

Apparently lying to get what you want is no longer considered immoral, by “the moral majority” and “values party.” Too bad, that.

Jun 12, 2014 2:39pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
BeBopman wrote:
As usual, Republican leaders’ actions on abortion aren’t about trying to prevent abortion. If they really wanted to prevent abortions, they would increase women’s access to birth control. Instead, they try to restrict access to birth control and then implement whatever policy they can think of that treats women as less than human. Republican leaders aren’t really anti-abortion. They’re just anti-woman.

Jun 12, 2014 2:42pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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