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For Immediate Release
March 13, 2014
Contact: Sarah Zagorski

 Statement by Rep. Katrina Jackson on the Unsafe Abortion Prevention Act


Today, Louisiana State Representative Katrina Jackson (D-Monroe) issued the following statement regarding H.B. 388:


I am proud to author the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act, and I issue this statement to correct false characterizations of the bill by those who make the outlandish claim that the bill would create a database of women who take emergency contraceptives.  

H.B. 388 simply proposes common-sense safety standards to protect the lives and health of pregnant women who may experience short-term risks immediately following a surgical or drug-induced abortion.  As explained by Louisiana Abortion Recovery Director Cindy Collins, these risks sometimes include hemorrhage, uterine perforation, or infection from incomplete abortion. My bill has three components to address the health and safety of women:


1.  The Act will require abortion providers to have admitting privileges within 30 miles of a local hospital.  Louisiana law requires surgeons in facilities classified as "ambulatory surgical centers" to have admitting privileges at local hospitals so that the physician can admit and treat a patient if an emergency arises.  My proposed law would simply require the same standard for abortion providers.


2.  The Act will clarify that reporting of anonymous statistics and abortion complications apply to RU-486 drug-induced abortions, just as they do to surgical abortions.   False reports have circulated that H.B. 388 creates a "database" of women who take the morning-after pill. These reports are false, and based on a lack of knowledge of Louisiana law.  The bill simply clarifies that physicians in both private offices as well as in licensed outpatient abortion facilities owe women the same informed consent protections and reporting of anonymous statistics and health complications to the Department of Health and Hospitals, whether the abortion is surgical or an RU-486 drug-induced abortion.  This follows the long-established procedure of reporting anonymous, aggregate abortion statistics and health complications to our state's health department for the purpose of providing anonymous and accurate public health and safety data regarding abortion and its impact on women's health.


In short, the bill does not create any database of names because Louisiana abortion reporting law already requires data to be provided under patient numbers for strict anonymity.  Further, the bill does not apply at all to emergency contraceptives, which do not meet the definition of "abortion" in Louisiana law. Emergency contraceptives have the capacity to prevent pregnancy before implantation.  Louisiana R.S. 40:1299.35.1 defines "abortion" to mean the act of using or prescribing any instrument or drug "with the intent to terminate the clinically diagnosable pregnancy" only after "implantation." 

The bill therefore requires reporting of drugs that act after implantation of the unborn child, notably the RU-486 regimen.  This abortion drug carries significant risks.  In 2011, the FDA reported 2,207 adverse events in the U.S. after women used the Mifiprex (RU-486) regimen for the termination of pregnancy. Among those were 14 deaths, 612 hospitalizations, 339 blood transfusions, and 256 infections (including 48 "severe infections").


3.  The Act will require doctors who perform more than five abortions a year to maintain proper licensing. Current Louisiana law allows physicians to perform 60 abortions a year before being subject to the health and safety inspections that are required of "licensed outpatient abortion facilities." Because every woman is entitled to the protection of regulated safety standards, this bill will require licensure for physicians who perform five or more abortions per year.


Representative Jackson encourages her colleagues to support H.B. 388, stating, "Whether or not someone personally supports a woman's right to choose abortion, we should all be able to agree that women undergoing the traumatic experience of abortion deserve the highest health and safety standards."



HB 388 will be considered in the House Health and Welfare Committee in Room 5 on Wednesday March 19th in the morning. Representative Jackson will hold a press conference and answer questions after the conclusion of the committee's agenda.  


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