Shreveport, La., Apr 3, 2014 / 14:37 pm
The Louisiana House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved new safety regulations requiring that abortion doctors have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, rules which could lead most abortion clinics in the state to close.
"We are thrilled that the Louisiana House of Representatives overwhelming passed H.B. 388 to protect the health and safety of women," Benjamin Clapper, executive director of Louisiana Right to Life, said March 31.
"This piece of common-sense legislation will ensure that women who may experience complications from a surgical or drug-induced abortion receive the best treatment available."
The House voted to pass the bill Monday by a bipartisan vote of 85-6.
Democratic State Rep. Katrina Jackson, who authored the legislation and is chair of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, said the bill is about "the safety of women."
The bill also has the backing of Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal and Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Kathy Kliebert.
The bill requires that abortion doctors have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic.
In addition, it clarifies that informed consent protections also apply to abortions procured with the RU-486 pill. Doctors who perform more than five abortions per year must also maintain proper licensing.
Under the provisions, drug-induced abortions must also be reported anonymously to the Department of Health and Hospitals, which already tracks surgical abortions, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.
The bill drew opposition from abortion clinics and several abortion advocacy groups.
Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast's Louisiana director Melissa Flournoy predicted that at least three of the five abortion clinics in Louisiana could close if the bill becomes law, Reuters reports. This would leave two abortion clinics in the area of Shreveport, La.
The Louisiana bill now heads to the state Senate.
At least six other states have considered laws requiring admitting privileges at hospitals.
On March 27, a federal appeals court upheld safety provisions of a Texas law that requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. The provisions have the same language as the Louisiana bill.
The Texas law has contributed to the closure of about one-third of that state's abortion clinics, leaving 19 remaining open, Reuters says.