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Louisiana Tries To Criminalize Abortions Performed By Anyone Other Than A Doctor

Louisiana Tries To Criminalize Abortions Performed By Anyone Other Than A Doctor


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.


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Photo from Ken_Mayer via flickr.

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10:58PM PDT on Mar 18, 2012

Arild asked "Where will this stupidity end???"

With the death of the last paleoconservatard.

8:26AM PDT on Mar 16, 2012

I am kind of confused by this article. I assume that by "abortion" they are referring to the surgical procedure as opposed to one induced by medication. I was not aware that there was a state that allowed non-physicians to perform surgical procedures, assist perhaps but not actual perform. I would of course be against any surgical procedure, not just an abortion, being performed by a non-physician.
But the article then states that the bill would require the physicians to certify and prove that the abortion was medically necessary due to a miscarriage or failure to progress. Doesn't this just make it another bill to effectively outlaw elective abortions.
I feel like this article emphasizes the wrong part of the proposed law. Of course its good to only have physicians performing surgical procedures, the real issue is that it looks like this bill is trying to prevent physicians from preforming the procedure unless they can prove (through government access to private medical files?) there was a miscarriage or failure to progress. This would get a resounding "hell no" from me as it violates both privacy and the right of a woman, with her doctor, to decide what medical procedures are right for her.

4:32PM PST on Mar 7, 2012

Thank You Danielle K.

7:12AM PST on Mar 7, 2012

It's just a ploy to criminalize abortions one step at time.

5:28AM PST on Mar 7, 2012

Robin H., just because someone is not a physician doesn't mean s/he isn't licensed. Nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and midwives are licensed by the state(s) in which they practice. If a midwife can attend a woman when she delivers, why can't a nurse practitioner or physician assistant perform a very early abortion, both with the understanding that she would have access to a doctor or hospital were there any complications?

1:59AM PST on Mar 7, 2012

Where will this stupidity end???

1:44AM PST on Mar 7, 2012

For weeks folks have been ranting about the war on women's health; now here is a legislature taking steps to protect women's reproductive health and that isn't okay either? So, here's an idea...don't move to Louisiana...I'm just sayin'

11:55PM PST on Mar 6, 2012

I don't see this as anti-choice. It is a good thing only licensed physicians should perform abortions.

11:04PM PST on Mar 6, 2012

Steve R.-

Why do you (frequently) rant about "rabid pro choice fanatics" who push for excessive abortions,etc? Pro choice is EXACTLY that- a woman's choice. It certainly doesn't FORCE anyone to HAVE an abortion...(Note- it is NOT a "pro abortion" thing) NO ONE is "PRO" abortion- pro choice people aren't rounding up pregnant women and forcing them to HAVE an abortion- but "pro lifers" aim to eliminate choice, and absolutely PREVENT women from (gasp) having the choice. And the ridiculous claims of women using abortion as a method of birth control?! Give me a break. Getting an abortion is a difficult, gut wrenching (certainly no pun intended) decision with the potential for serious complications. It is painful- physically and emotionally, and often at significant expense (many of us women folk are squeaking by with no -or inadequate insurance)
I am reasonably sure I do not share your religious or political beliefs- but I would never impose my beliefs on you- nor do I want your beliefs imposed on me.

9:53PM PST on Mar 6, 2012

When abortions were made legal, only doctors could perform the procedure, so why is this legislation even being brought about? I certainly don't want some woman who does pump parties with who knows what injected to perform an abortion. This bill is pure nonsense!

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