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Louisiana Governor Signs Bill Criminalizing The Mailing Of Abortion Pills

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Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, testifies during the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing to examine offshore energy development in federal waters and leasing under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, in Dirksen Senate Office Building on Thursday, May 13, 2021.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Governor John Bel Edwards (D-LA) signed a bill into law on Tuesday that will make mailing abortion pills a crime in his state.

SB 388 will “prohibit criminal abortion by means of the use of an abortion inducing drug without the prescribing physician being physically present during the administration of the drug,” including a $1,000 fine and a maximum of six months in prison.

The bill, which goes into effect on August 1, does not allow a pregnant woman to be punished under the new policy. Other contraceptive methods, such as Plan B, are also not banned by the law.

An Axios report noted, “In Louisiana, pregnant people were already required to take abortion pills in a doctor’s office or a clinic, but it was not a criminal act.”

Edwards also signed another bill into law on Tuesday that increased punishments regarding the state’s trigger law regarding abortion. The state’s current trigger law will go into effect if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

The new law, SB 342, would make providing an abortion punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to a $100,000 fine. In the case of an abortion performed after 15 weeks of pregnancy, the punishment can be up to 15 years in prison and up to a $200,000 fine.

SB 342, like the new abortion pill mail ban, does not allow a pregnant woman to be prosecuted.

Louisiana is one of 13 states with trigger laws that will go into effect if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade and returns decisions regarding abortion laws to individual states. In addition to Louisiana, the other states include Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

A total of 22 states “have laws or constitutional amendments already in place that would make them certain to attempt to ban abortion as quickly as possible,” according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Texas already includes a ban on most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. Oklahoma also recently passed a near-total ban on abortions in its GOP-led state.

In South Dakota, Governor Kristi Noem (R-SD) celebrated the closing of the state’s last abortion business last week, challenging those in her state to focus on helping mothers in crisis.

Noem shared the statement in a Twitter post that included a link to the news of her state’s abortion-free status.

“Abortions have stopped in South Dakota. We have prayed for this day, and now it is here,” Noem wrote.

“Now, we must redouble our focus on taking care of mothers in crisis. Help is available for you. Adoption is an option. You are never alone,” she added.

The recent closure of the last abortion provider in South Dakota made it the second abortion-free state following Oklahoma after Governor Kevin Stitt (R-OK) recently signed a law banning most abortions from the point of conception.

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