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Louisiana Takes Step to Ban Abortion Pills, Threatening Access

Louisiana Moves to Restrict Abortion Access with Pill Possession Ban

Louisiana is on the cusp of making history as the first state to criminalize possession of mifepristone and misoprostol, the two drugs used for medicated abortions, without a prescription.

This move marks a new frontier in the battle over abortion pills and could further restrict access in a state that already bans most abortions. Anti-abortion politicians in Louisiana are driving this effort, which comes as the Supreme Court deliberates a case seeking to limit access to mifepristone.

Abortion Rights Under Threat as Louisiana Targets Abortion Pills

The GOP-controlled Legislature added a last-minute amendment to a Senate bill, classifying the drugs as controlled substances and making possession without a prescription a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.

The amendment exempts pregnant women who possess the pills for personal use but puts anyone who helps them at risk. It also seemingly bans women from having the pills on hand, even if they’re not pregnant or planning to take them immediately.

Louisiana already bans most abortions, and lawmakers recently rejected a bill that would have added exceptions for rape and incest.

Over 200 Louisiana doctors have strongly opposed the amendment, arguing that mifepristone and misoprostol are safe and medically indicated drugs that don’t warrant additional regulation. The amended bill has cleared the Senate and is headed for a final vote in the House before June 3.

Abortion rights advocates warn that this legislation will create a chilling effect, making it harder for women to access safe medications, including misoprostol, which has wide-ranging applications in reproductive health and is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines.

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