Planned Parenthood: “What Is Happening in Louisiana Is Part of a Dangerous National Trend”
Baton Rouge, LA – At a press conference later today held at a church in West Monroe, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal will sign into law a series of bills that amount to dangerous restrictions on sex education and safe, legal abortion.
Of most concern is a law that could severely restrict a woman’s access to safe, legal abortion in the state by requiring physicians to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that abortion has over a 99 percent safety record. For patients’ safety, providers already have plans in place in case of an emergency. In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Medical Association (AMA) oppose admitting privilege restrictions, writing that: “There is no medical basis to require abortion providers to have local hospital admitting privileges. Emergency room physicians, hospital-based physicians, and on-call specialists already provide prompt and effective treatment to all patients with urgent medical needs, including women with abortion-related complications.”
Reports indicate this law could cause some of Louisiana’s five remaining health centers providing safe and legal abortion to close their doors, posing a serious risk to women’s health by ending access outside the northwest corner of the state if it takes effect as scheduled on September 1. Similar admitting privileges restrictions have passed in Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Oklahoma — and if all these laws take effect, abortion access in wide swaths of this region could be virtually eliminated overnight. At a federal trial on a similar law enacted in Wisconsin, an independent, court-appointed medical expert recently said of laws like this, “I think it is an unacceptable experiment to see if you decrease access (to abortion) and see if more women die. It is not acceptable. It is not ethical. People will resort to illegal abortions.”
“Ignoring the protest of women’s health experts, Governor Jindal is subjecting doctors who provide abortion to targeted restrictions under the guise of improving patient safety, despite the fact that abortion is already one of the safest medical procedures in the country,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “What is happening in Louisiana is part of a dangerous national trend. With these same dangerous restrictions enacted in neighboring states, the United States is becoming a country where a woman's ability to make personal medical decisions without interference from politicians will be dependent upon where she happens to live. That cannot be what the Supreme Court intended when it established a woman's right to safe and legal abortion more than 40 years ago.”
Another bill to be signed by the governor today will ban Planned Parenthood — which is the leading provider of sex education in the nation — from providing sex education in Louisiana schools at a time when Louisiana’s teen birth rate has risen to the sixth highest in the nation.
“It makes no sense that the same politicians, like Governor Jindal, who want to end safe and legal abortion in this state also want to restrict the ability of our youth to get sex education from the leading experts in the field,” said Melissa Flournoy, PhD, Louisiana state director of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. “These laws will harm, not help, women and families in our state. Planned Parenthood is committed to ensuring that we can continue to be there for the women, men and teens of Louisiana who count on us to deliver high-quality health care and information in a safe, respectful environment despite every obstacle these politicians try to put in our path.”
Earlier this week the governor signed a law that requires the government to establish a taskforce to develop and publish materials concerning mental health risks associated with abortion — claims which are disputed by the American Psychological Association. Another bill awaiting action from Jindal would insert politicians in difficult and deeply personal decisions about end of life care for pregnant women.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
June 12, 2014