New law could close some abortion clinics in Louisiana

Published: Jan. 25, 2019 at 11:33 AM CST
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A 2014 law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals is set to take effect Jan. 28 after years of legal hangups.

The law, authored by Rep. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe, essentially requires doctors to request permission from hospitals within 30 miles of their clinics to admit their patients in the event of a complication. It effectively requires that doctor to be an honorary member of the hospital’s staff.

“This law will make it so the same doctor that is performing the abortion will continue caring for their patient in the hospital, improving the continuity of care,” said Baton Rouge Right to Life Capital Outreach Director Mia Bordlee. “Any way we can protect these women and protect their children, we’re going to take those steps because we need a higher bar for the standard of care in Louisiana.”

Opponents of the bill say hospitals rarely offer admitting privileges to doctors who perform abortions because complications with legal procedures are not common.

“This is the beginning of the end,” said National Organization for Women Legislative Director Angela Adkins. “We’re down to three clinics in Louisiana and could possibly have less than that in a week.”

Louisiana’s abortion clinics are located in Shreveport, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans. Adkins warns that further restrictions on doctors could make it nearly impossible to keep abortion clinics open.

“We are repeating history that does not need to be repeated,” Adkins said, adding that limiting legal abortions can lead to more illegal and unsafe abortions.

Adkins says Louisiana is on the verge of eliminating abortions entirely, barring an appeal to the United States Supreme Court before Monday.

“Don’t think this is the end because it is not the end,” she said. “We are not done fighting and we will fight this tooth and nail, all the way to the end, all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.”

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