Committee Approves Bills to Increase Abortion Penalties for Doctors and Ban Abortion Pills in the Mail | New

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana’s House Committee on Health and Welfare on Tuesday approved two anti-abortion bills in bipartisan votes.

Senate Bill 342, sponsored by State Sen. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe, would increase criminal penalties for abortion providers under Louisiana trigger laws.

Louisiana is one of 13 states with trigger laws that go into effect if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Under a law signed by former Governor Kathleen Blanco, abortion would become illegal almost immediately after Roe’s overthrow.

Existing laws allow prison terms of one to five years and fines of $5,000 to $50,000 for abortion providers. Jackson’s bill increases sentences from one to 10 years in prison and fines from $10,000 to $100,000.

Jackson included language prohibiting the application of criminal penalties to women who terminate their own pregnancies.

While Jackson’s bill would not criminalize those who undergo abortions, abortion rights advocates point out that women who terminate their pregnancies could still be penalized under other existing abortion laws. .

The Louisiana penal code defines a person as “a human being from the time of fertilization and implantation.”

This definition could make it possible to prosecute anyone who terminates a pregnancy, not just abortion providers.

State Rep. Mandie Landry, D-New Orleans, introduced a bill to prevent such lawsuits, but the bill was defeated last month by the House Committee on the Administration of Justice criminal.

Ellie Schilling, an abortion rights advocate, spoke out against Jackson’s SB342.

“This overcriminalization will drag other people into it,” Schilling said. “If you help someone get out of state to have an abortion…are you going to be charged? Are you going to be thrown in prison for 10 years?

Jackson’s bill passed 10-2, with Rep. Travis Johnson, a Democrat from Vidalia, joining Republicans on the committee in supporting it.

Johnson also voted in favor of Senate Bill 388, sponsored by Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell, on Tuesday as the committee moved it forward in a 9-2 vote. The bill would prohibit out-of-state vendors from selling abortion-inducing drugs to people in Louisiana.

The bill expands the definition of criminal abortion to include delivering, dispensing, dispensing, or supplying abortifacients when the person administering the drug is not a licensed Louisiana physician.

In effect, the bill would ban abortion drugs through the mail.

The law provides for five to 10 years in prison or a fine of $10,000 to $75,000, or both. If the pregnant person is a minor, the penalty for the drug provider could be 15 to 50 years in prison or a fine of $15,000 to $100,000, or both.

Angie Thomas, an anti-abortion activist with Louisiana Right to Life, spoke out in favor of the bill.

Thomas said she was able to get abortion pills online despite telling the prescription website that she was 13 weeks pregnant, which is past the time for abortion-inducing drugs. abortion are effective.

“If they’re too advanced, these pills become much more dangerous and also become less effective,” Thomas said. “I urge you all to vote for this bill. This is a dangerous practice and women’s safety.

Dr. Sara Lever, an obstetrics and gynecology resident, opposed the bill.

“I love my job,” Lever said. “There are two things I don’t like. The first is poor results. The second is a situation like this, when a woman is at her most vulnerable point, where she feels like there are no options, as if she has no control in one of the scariest times of her life.

Lever argued that the bill would make it harder for women to access quality health care.

“I fear the proposed bill will directly oppose these principles,” she said, “making women’s health care less accessible, less patient-centered, less equitable and, most importantly, not safer”.

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