Friday, 13 June 2014

Three Louisiana Abortion Clinics Likely to Close

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Louisiana's pro-life governor, Bobby Jindal, signed a bill into law June 12 that is expected to close three of his state's five abortion clinics. HB 388, the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act, is designed to protect the health of women who opt to abort their babies by ensuring that their abortionists have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of where they perform the lethal procedure. The restriction will likely force the closure of abortion clinics in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

Jindal also signed another pro-life bill, HB 305, which prohibits any group which performs abortions from providing sex education instruction or materials to public schools in the state. The new law “assures Louisiana families that their children are not being targeted by abortion-providing organizations, consistent with current Louisiana law that prohibits school curriculum from promoting abortion,” explained a press statement released by Gov. Jindal's office.

“I am proud to sign these bills because they will help us continue to protect women and the life of the unborn in our state,” said the governor as he affixed his signature to the two bills during a signing ceremony at First Baptist Church in the city of West Monroe. “These new laws will give women the health and safety protections they deserve, and continue to make Louisiana a state that values individual human life.”

HB 388 was sponsored by Democratic State Representative Katrina Jackson, who said she championed the bill because “women who resort to the traumatic experience of abortion are entitled to have these procedures performed in a safe environment.” She emphasized that the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act ensures that “surgical abortion facilities are held to the same safety standards of other outpatient surgical facilities in Louisiana, and this initiative will build on our past work to protect life in our state.”

The law is modeled on similar legislation passed in Texas, which prompted the closure of up to 20 abortion clinics in the state that did not meet the minimum safety requirements to operate, including the assurance that abortionists have the proper admitting privileges within 30 miles of the abortion clinics. Similar laws have also been passed in Oklahoma, Kansas, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Utah, while such safety guarantees have been placed on hold in Alabama, Mississippi, and Wisconsin as the laws have met court challenges.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that an attorney for the affected Louisiana abortion clinics will likely file a lawsuit to stop HB 388, but it remained “unclear if the court would grant the clinics an injunction, allowing them to keep their doors open, while litigation pends.”

As for HB 305, Representative Frank Hoffman, the Republican sponsor, said the new measure ensures that “taxpayer dollars are spent to promote education and life, not to push a private agenda that is deeply unsettling to many of Louisiana’s citizens.” He said the law represents “an important step in defending the parental right to guide a child’s moral development. It also sends a message that our schools are places of education and growth, not marketing opportunities.” He insisted that the new measure “isn’t about sex education. This is about abortion businesses teaching in schools.”

Dorinda Bordlee of the Bioethics Defense Fund applauded Hoffman's bill, saying, “Louisiana families should know that their children aren’t being targeted by groups that have financial incentives to subtly sell abortion and other irresponsible behavior that is dangerous to the health and safety of children.”

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