BATON ROUGE, La. — Legislators in Louisiana have passed a bill requiring abortionists to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital, a move that some say will shutter most abortion facilities in the state.
HB 388, proposed by Rep. Katrina Jackson (R-Monroe), passed the Louisiana House of Representatives overwhelmingly on Wednesday 88-5. It had passed the Senate earlier this month 34-3.
“On the date the abortion is performed or induced, a physician performing or inducing an abortion shall 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,” the bill reads.
Governor Bobby Jindal, a Roman Catholic, Tweeted following the passage of the legislation that he intends to sign the bill into law.
“Looking forward to signing HB 388 by @Repkjackson,” he wrote. “This bill will give women the health and safety protections they deserve.”
Reports state that three out of the state’s five abortion facilities will likely close as a result, namely the locations in Baton Rouge, Metairie and New Orleans.
As previously reported, 20 abortion facilities in Texas have now closed—or have announced their closure—due to a similar law that requires abortionists to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital. According to a USA Today report, only half a dozen abortion facilities might still be open by the end of this year, which is a significant decrease from the 41 facilities operating in the state just three years ago.
The last remaining abortion facility in Mississippi has been battling in the courts for two years to keep its doors open after lawmakers likewise required admitting privileges in the event of an emergency. As none of the area hospitals will agree to work with abortionists, Jackson Women’s Organization has been unable to comply with the law, and was to have been shut down last year. It remains open while a judge decides whether the regulation passes constitutional muster.
Abortion advocates nationwide have decried the mandate—including the law passed this week in Louisiana, accusing lawmakers of using the admitting privileges requirement as a back-door means to outlaw abortion in the state.
“With similar restrictions passed in neighboring states over the objection of leading medical experts, we are deeply concerned that women in a vast stretch of this country are in real danger of losing the ability to access legal abortion safely,” said Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards.
But Benjamin Clapper of Louisiana Right to Life opined that the passage of the bill was a “common-sense” move since it intent was all about the safety of women.
“Protecting women through common-sense regulations is something we all should stand behind,” he said. “HB 388 will protect women from the Louisiana abortion industry, which is often more interested in selling abortion, than the health and safety of women.”
Similar laws are being considered in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.