Protestors demonstrate against abortion bill
BATON ROUGE - Demonstrators with Planned Parenthood spoke out against legislation that critics said could shut down almost every abortion clinic in Louisiana.
Lawmakers are considering a bill which would require all doctors that perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Critics said that would only leave open abortion clinics in Shreveport and Bossier City, and force clinics in New Orleans, Metairie and Baton Rouge to close.
Today, protestors said lawmakers are focused in the wrong area.
"I'm discouraged by the fact that we don't want to focus on prevention, that we don't want to talk about access to healthcare, and we want to talk about politics," said Melissa Flournoy with Planned Parenthood.
Rep. Katrina Jackson (D-Monroe), the bill's author, said her intention was entirely about making sure women having abortions had access to proper health care professionals in case something were to go wrong.
"I tell people it's very important when a woman is hemorrhaging or having some type of difficulty for abortion that she has the same level of care for someone that's having a laser knee surgery, laser eye surgery, who goes into an emergency situation has and that's just not happening in the state of Louisiana," she said.
Similar laws have been passed in other states, and Mississippi's law is being challenged in federal appeals court. According to court documents filed challenging similar legislation in Wisconsin, less than 0.3 percent of women experiencing a complication due to an abortion require hospitalization, and the risk of death from abortions are less than 0.7 deaths per 100,000 procedures. For comparison, people taking penicillin in the U. S. suffer 2.0 deaths per 100,000 uses.
According to a Supreme Court decision, states are not allowed to place restrictions which place an "undue burden" on women seeking abortions.
The bill is headed to the state Senate floor for debate.