Pro-life roundup: Louisiana passes abortion fraud bill, California invites abortionists from Arizona

Abortion pill A pro-abortion activist displays abortion pills as she counter-protests during an anti-abortion demonstration on March 25, 2023, in New York City. | Credit: Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images

Here’s a look at major abortion-related developments that took place in the states this week. 

Louisiana passes bill to make abortion coercion a crime

In the wake of the case of a pregnant Texas woman being poisoned with an abortion drug, Louisiana is taking steps to criminalize “abortion fraud” and defining abortion drugs mifepristone or misoprostol as controlled substances.

When Catherine Herring told her husband Mason she was pregnant, he spiked her drink with abortion drugs. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years on probation. Their daughter, Josephine, survived his multiple attempts to poison her, though she has developmental issues as a result and was born 10 weeks early.

A Louisiana native, Herring testified in support of the Louisiana law while Herring’s brother, Sen. Thomas Pressly, introduced the bill.

Louisiana SB 276 was established “to create the crime of coerced criminal abortion by means of fraud,” establishing penalties of five to 10 years in prison or $10,000 to $75,000 fines for those who give a pregnant woman abortion drugs without her knowledge or consent.

The bill contains harsher penalties when the unborn child is more than 3 months old given that the nonconsensual use of an abortion drug can “substantially increases the pregnant woman’s risk of death or serious bodily harm” and carries the penalty of either 10 to 20 years in prison or a fine between $50,000 and $100,000, or both. 

“We are proud of Sen. Pressly’s outstanding defense of SB 276, which will protect women like his sister for decades to come,” Sarah Zagorski, the communications director for Louisiana Right to Life, said in a May 23 statement, adding: “The intention of SB 276 is to stop the abortion industry from profiting off of abuse and trafficking of vulnerable women through their flagrantly illegal distribution of pills.”

The Louisiana Senate passed the law on Tuesday and it is expected to be signed by the governor. The bill would still allow pregnant women to abort their unborn children through the medication but would prevent anyone who does not have a prescription from obtaining the drug.

Louisiana Right to Life noted that its statement was issued “in response to the onslaught of misinformation” about the bill and noted that no female senators voted against the bill. 

“From my experience in northeast Louisiana, medications such as mifepristone and misoprostol are recklessly available online and on the street without a prescription or a physician’s exam,” Dr. Amber Shemwell, a Louisiana OB-GYN, said in the Louisiana Right to Life press release.

“Without proper physician screening for ectopic and molar pregnancies, these medications have the potential to be dangerous,” she continued. “For these reasons, I support categorizing both of these medications as controlled substances. Physicians commonly use controlled substances, and I’m confident that my care for women will not be harmed by this legislation, even as it applies to the appropriate use of misoprostol in my practice.”

Louisiana protects unborn children from abortion in all stages except for cases where the life of the mother is threatened or the baby is discovered to have a lethal fetal anomaly.

California allows traveling abortionists from Arizona 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law on Thursday that allows Arizona abortionists to come to California to perform abortions until the repeal of a pro-life Arizona law goes into effect later this year.

An Arizona Supreme Court repealed the 1864 law protecting unborn babies at all stages of life except for those conceived by incest or rape. The 1864 law came into effect in the wake of Roe v. Wade’s overturn, and though it was repealed, the repeal won’t go into effect until September.

The California law, SB 233, which immediately went into effect, allows any licensed Arizona abortionists to come to California to offer abortions until Nov. 30 of this year. In a May 23 press release, Newsom said the state of California “stands ready to protect reproductive freedom.”

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“Together, we will continue to work to ensure that all who are forced to leave their home state to access abortion care can get the services they need and deserve in California,” CEO Jodi Hicks of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California added in the release.

“Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature’s Democrat supermajority have found yet another devilishly clever way to promote the abortion industry,” California Right to Life Director Mary Rose Short told CNA in an email. 

“Based on the fact that Arizona law may protect the right to life of all unborn children for a few weeks’ duration, they passed SB 233 as an urgency bill, encouraging the fiction that pregnancy is a deadly disease that strikes without warning,” she added. 

“Not content with the executions of over 100,000 of our state’s baby boys and girls every year, California Democrats want to facilitate the deaths of Arizona children as well,” she concluded.

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