Louisiana Republicans say criminalizing possession of abortion pills is “good for women”

Louisiana Republican Party voted on Thursday to classify mifepristone and misoprostol, drugs prescribed for abortion, as dangerous controlled substances. Of course, they do so under the guise of helping pregnant women, which is not at all what the law would do.

The bill now heads to the Republican governor Jeff LandryDepartment, making possession of drugs without a prescription a crime that can lead to jail time and thousands of dollars in fines. Louisiana already has the harshest abortion ban in the country; lawmakers there recently discarded object plea for child rape victims to be able to terminate their pregnancies. Today, virtually all abortions are banned, except in certain cases when the mother’s life is in danger or the fetus is not viable—but even then, the medical procedure may still be cancelled. Unobtainable.

By classifying mifepristone and misoprostol as dangerous controlled substances, critics of the bill say it would make it unnecessarily difficult for doctors to get the drugs into the hands of people who need them. Michelle Erenberg, executive director of reproductive rights group Lift Louisiana, speak The New York Times that in cases of miscarriage bleeding, “things can get worse very quickly” and that medical professionals are concerned that they may not be able to “quickly prescribe these drugs in a way that they can now.” Doctors also emphasized that the drugs in question have other uses besides abortion, including stop postpartum hemorrhage, which happens to be one of the leading causes of maternal mortality. “What it will do is make it more difficult to use these drugs safely and legally,” said Dr. Jennifer Avegno, Director of the New Orleans Department of Health told Age. “It will create confusion, fear, barriers to using these drugs for all of their non-abortion indications,” she added. (Misoprostol is also used to reduce the risk of gastrointestinal ulcers and to induce labor in people preparing to give birth.)

In the understatement of the century, state Sen Thomas Pressley, “I understand that it could give some people in this body heartburn,” the bill’s sponsor, told colleagues Thursday. But I truly believe this is the right step to take to ensure that criminal action ahead is stopped.” Meanwhile, state Sen Cloud by Heather Miley told lawmakers, “The benefits of this bill far outweigh the risks,” adding, “This is good for women.”

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