New pamphlets required for women seeking abortion
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Women in Louisiana seeking an abortion will have to receive a pamphlet that describes possible psychological effects of the procedure, under a bill that received final passage Thursday — though studies disagree on the effect of such practices.
The House sent the bill to the governor with an 87-0 vote and no debate.
The measure, by Rep. Barry Ivey, R-Baton Rouge, also requires women to receive information about the illegality of coerced abortions and services available to human-trafficking victims, before they can have an abortion.
Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal is expected to sign the bill into law.
Clinics will have to provide the brochures at the start of the state-mandated, 24-hour waiting period before a woman can have an abortion, with an exception in cases of a medical emergency.
Supporters of the bill say it will provide useful information to women seeking an abortion.
During committee testimony, Ivey described the "potential psychiatric issues" that can occur after women have the procedure, and other backers of his proposal talked of possible symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder that women experience because of an abortion.
Studies that have been conducted on the subject, however, disagree on whether there's a correlation between having an abortion and increased levels of stress or anxiety.
Opponents of Ivey's bill said it would add unnecessary costs for clinics and was designed to create another hurdle for women seeking to get a legal procedure.
The requirements will take effect 30 days after the state health department publishes a notice that the materials have been approved and are available for abortion clinics to distribute.
Ivey's bill is one of several proposals pushed by anti-abortion groups this session. Others that already have passed will require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and will bar people who work for abortion providers from distributing health information at Louisiana's public schools.
Another measure sought by organizations opposed to abortion was sent Thursday to a legislative compromise committee.
The bill by Rep. Austin Badon would require doctors and hospitals to use life support to keep a brain-dead pregnant woman alive until the birth of her child if an obstetrician determines the woman's life "can reasonably be maintained in such a way as to permit the continuing development and live birth of the unborn child."
Senators added language that would give a spouse, children, parents or siblings of the pregnant woman the final say in end-of-life decisions. Badon, D-New Orleans, doesn't support the add-on and wants to remove it before bringing the bill up for final passage.