MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Louisiana has passed more restrictions on abortion than any other state since a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1973 made abortion legal nationwide, according to a new report by the Guttmacher Institute.
The report, which was released on Feb. 11, 2020, says Louisiana has enacted 89 abortion restrictions since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. That's 26 more restrictions than the next-highest state, Indiana.
The report says not all of these restrictions are in effect because some have been struck down in court. According to the report, some of the policies which are in effect include banning nearly all Medicaid funding for abortion, requiring in-person counseling at least 24 hours before an abortion, barring the use of telemedicine, and requiring an ultrasound during which the provider must show and describe the image to the patient.
A Louisiana law currently not in effect, but before the U.S. Supreme Court, is expected to close most of the state's abortion clinics if held up by the high court, according to opponents of the law. It requires doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The law was previously struck down by a federal court that determined the law violated patients' constitutional rights and didn't provide any demonstrated benefit to women’s health or safety. The case was taken to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is now scheduled to hear the case on March 4, 2020.
The Louisiana Attorney General's Office issued a statement saying the law would not force the closure of any clinics. They say the law is only requiring abortion clinics to meet the same standards as other outpatient facilities in the state and substandard care necessitated the passage of the law.
"The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Louisiana’s law as constitutional and found that Louisiana’s law would not force any clinic closures, saying, 'there is no evidence that any of the clinics will close as a result of the Act,'" the statement read, in part.
"Louisiana abortionists have gone to extraordinary lengths to block this bipartisan law that promotes the well-being of women and protects minor girls who may find themselves in the hands of incompetent providers and under unsafe conditions. The Attorney General’s Office will not waver in defense of the pro-woman law, and we will continue to do all we legally can to protect Louisiana’s women and girls."
The U.S. Supreme Court decided on a similar law in 2016. They decided against Texas' admitting privileges law 5 to 3. One seat on the court was empty at the time.
In November 2020, Louisiana voters will have a chance to rewrite the state constitution to make sure it doesn't offer abortion protections. This comes after the state passed a law in 2019 that would ban abortion as early as six weeks of pregnancy, even in the case of rape or incest. This law would only go into effect if a similar law in Mississippi goes into effect. Currently, Mississippi's law is held up in court.
The following data from the Guttmacher Institute shows the number of abortion restrictions enacted by each state.
This story has been updated to include a statement from the Louisiana Attorney General's Office.
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