By Kathleen Peppo
LSU Manship School News Service
The House passed three bills Wednesday to limit access to abortion.
Two of the bills–one by Rep. Raymond Crews, R-Shreveport, and one by Rep. Julie Emerson, R-Lafayette–would make it mandatory to report more information regarding abortions to the Louisiana Department of Health than is currently required.
The third, by Rep. Beryl Amedee, R-Houma, would require doctors to tell women who have begun the process of a chemical abortion that a potential reversal procedure after the first pill in a series of two exists.
After each of the three representatives presented their bills, Rep. Mandie Landry, D-New Orleans, asked, “Has LDH asked you to file this bill?”
Each of the three answered no. The Health Department did not voice opposition to or support for any of the bills.
Amedee’s bill, which she referred to as the “Abortion Pill Reversal Disclosure Act,” requires abortion providers to notify patients who undergo a chemical abortion that the first step in the two-step procedure can potentially be reversed.
A 2017 report by the Health Department revealed that there is insufficient evidence to suggest that any sound method of reversal for a medication-induced abortion exists.
Rep. Aimee Freeman, D-New Orleans, voiced opposition to the bill.
“While many of you know that I am pro-choice, this is not about pro-choice,” said Freeman. “This is about medical needs.”
Amedee said that this procedure “simply saves the life of the baby in many cases. It’s not a guarantee, but this bill is an attempt to give it a chance. With 2,000 babies saved nationwide and at least eight so far in Louisiana, I ask for your vote in favor to give a baby a chance.”
Amedee’s bill passed 71-27.
Crews said his bill would “require some record keeping, reporting to the LDH.”
He said that he brought the bill because he recently learned about the process of judicial bypass, by which a minor can go before a judge to be granted the right to an abortion without parental consent or knowledge.
“We’re just trying to get an idea of how prevalent this is in the state, and if it’s being abused in any way, and making sure the minor gets the proper care,” said Crews.
Landry pointed out that this data is already available to the Health Department by means of an audit. The bill would give LDH the information yearly regardless of an audit.
Crews’ bill passed 72-25.
Emerson said that her bill would add to the requirements regarding abortion reporting.
It would require that a patient’s zip code be reported along with her municipality. It also would add sections about reporting abortions of minor pregnant women under the age of 18 to the Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Children and Family Services and about reporting whether the patient had prior complications.
The bill was amended to clarify that all information reported is confidential. Neither the patient’s name nor street address would be listed in the reports.
Emerson’s bill passed 81-14.