A bill to ban the shipment of abortion-inducing drugs passed the Louisiana legislature on Friday and is now headed to the desk of Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards.
The legislation would prohibit anyone from “delivering, dispensing, distributing, or providing a pregnant woman with an abortion-inducing drug” if the person is not a doctor licensed under state law. It would penalize “any person who knowingly performs an abortion by means of abortion-inducing drug,” but not the woman involved. According to the bill’s text, penalties could include jail time of up to five years and/or a fine of up to $50,000.
“We’re targeting manufacturers and distributors who are taking advantage of women,” state Republican Sen. Sharon Hewitt told The Daily Advertiser, saying the bill would “close a loophole.”
She added that the new legislation seeks to protect pregnant women from “mail-order, do-it-yourself chemical abortions without oversight.”
Edwards, a Democrat, has previously signed pro-life legislation in his state. The bill, if signed, would go into effect on August 1.
The Guttmacher Institute reported that medication abortion accounted for 54% of US abortions by 2020.
“That year is the first time medication abortion crossed the threshold to become the majority of all abortions and it is a significant jump from 39% in 2017, when Guttmacher last reported these data,” its report noted.
The Daily Wire previously reported that as of April, 19 states required the person administering the medication to be physically present when the drugs are given, and legislators in 13 states have also proposed bills that would make it so doctors have to educate women about abortion pill reversal treatment.
In California, a bill was introduced saying people “shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability or penalty, or otherwise deprived of their rights, based on their actions or omissions with respect to their pregnancy or actual, potential, or alleged pregnancy outcome, including miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion, or perinatal death.”
South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem signed a bill to ban telemedicine abortion in March.
HB 1318 will “prohibit medical abortion by telemedicine and … increase the penalty for the unlicensed practice of medicine when performing a medical abortion.” The legislation will require mifepristone and misoprostol to be dispensed from licensed physicians and prohibit obtaining the drugs online or by mail for the purposes of a chemical abortion.
“With this bill, we will protect both unborn babies and their mothers from this dangerous procedure,” Noem wrote ahead of signing it into law.
The controversial legislation comes as the Supreme Court considers a ruling that could return laws about abortion to individual states.
The ruling could be announced as early as this week. The looming final decision has sparked national attention, especially following an unprecedented leak of an early draft from Justice Samuel Alito that suggested Roe v. Wade could be overturned.
The leak has led to an investigation, as well as sparking protests by abortion-rights activists that have included showing up at the private homes of conservative justices.