On Thursday, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signed a new law that will further limit the ability of a woman in Louisiana to terminate a pregnancy.
The “Unsafe Abortion Protection Act” will require that any doctor who performs more than five abortions per year “have active admitting privileges at a hospital that is located not further than thirty miles from the location at which the abortion is performed or induced and that provides obstetrical or gynecological health care services.”
Jindal said the law “will give women the health and safety protections they deserve, and continue to make Louisiana a state that values individual human life.”
However, the admission privileges the new law requires doctors to have are difficult to come by, because they are largely business decisions based on how many beds a doctor can fill. Because of the low rate of complications associated with abortions, it is difficult for abortion providers to meet the minimum number of admissions required to obtain the privilege.
Pro-choice groups contended that the law will close down three or four of the state’s five remaining abortion clinics. Doctors in private practices — especially those in rural areas — will also be barred from performing them.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards said of the new law that “[w]ith these same restrictions enacted in neighboring states, the United States is becoming a country where a woman’s ability to make personal medical decisions without interference from politicians will be dependent upon where she happens to live. That cannot be what the Supreme Court intended when it established a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion more than 40 years ago.”
Ellie Schilling, a lawyer who represents the Women’s Health Care Center in New Orleans and the Causeway Medical Clinic in Metairie, agreed, noting that “there will certainly be a court challenge to [the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act’s] constitutionality” before it goes into effect on September 1, 2014.
Watch Gov. Jindal speak at the 2014 Pro-Life Signing Ceremony below.
[“Gov. Bobby Jindal” via Gage Skidmore on Flickr]