In this latest attack on abortion rights, lawmakers in the state of Louisiana introduced a bill that would prevent anyone but a licensed physician from performing abortions in the state by making it a crime for anyone else to perform the procedure.
Senate Bill 330 would criminalize any abortions performed “by any individual who is not a physician licensed by the state of Louisiana”. This includes registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nurses aides, physicians’ assistants and those with no medical training at all. The bill defines a physician as someone who holds a medical or an osteopathic degree from a medical college in “good standing with the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners” and has a license, permit, certification or registration issued by the board to practice medicine in the state.
The bill imposes penalties of a prison term for one to five years, a fine of $5000 to $50,000 or a jail sentence and a fine.
The bill also creates the crime of “aggravated criminal abortion by dismemberment” that criminalizes the non-physician uses of clamps, forceps or other means to dismember a fetus during abortion would face a prison sentence of at least one year and up to 10 years, a minimum $10,000 fine and a maximum $100,000 fine, or both a fine and jail term.
The bill also requires the doctor certify in writing that a woman undergoing the procedure to remove a miscarried fetus or a failing pregnancy did in fact need the procedure for that reason. Just to be sure, the bill requires that the files and ultrasounds support that conclusion.
The increasing push to criminalize providing women’s access to critical and necessary health care represents a new focus in the war against reproductive choice and one that takes the politicization of medical science to a dangerous low.
Photo from Ken_Mayer via flickr.