Louisiana anti-abortion bills prove harmful to women

Sarah Simon, Views Editor

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This is an opinion article and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

After the unconstitutional closures of two of the four remaining abortion clinics in Louisiana, it seems the attacks against women’s reproductive rights are still far from over.

On April 20, dubbed “Pro-Life Day,” the Louisiana House Health and Welfare Committee passed four bills, which further restrict women’s access to abortions in Louisiana. These harmful bills move to the full House of Representatives next.

The first of these bills, House Bill 606, would withhold state Medicaid funding for any organization that performs abortions. This falls along the lines of recent efforts on the federal level to defund Planned Parenthood, though the legislation would also apply to any other health care provider that performs abortions.

This is hazardous because it disincentives clinics from performing abortions and could raise the cost of clinics. Women would potentially have to travel further and pay more for their constitutional right to abortion. Plus, this state funding ban extends to all other services provided by that organization, so Medicaid and other government insurance programs would not cover any services at these clinics.

The second bill, House Bill 815, is less controversial. It prohibits the sale or donation of body parts and organs from aborted fetuses. This amendment to rules on deceased organ donors seems to be a reaction to last year’s scandal where an anti-abortion organization leaked falsified videos of a Texas Planned Parenthood selling tissue from aborted fetuses for profit.

House Bill 1019 bans abortions in cases where the unborn child has been diagnosed with a genetic abnormality. This is dangerous because it blatantly prevents access to abortions. Plus, not all mothers are equipped, physically or mentally, to be parents of children with genetic abnormalities. There can be health risks associated with carrying such a baby to term. Furthermore, many families would struggle to provide proper care to their child, since it can be financially taxing to raise a child with genetic disabilities.

There can be health risks associated with carrying such a baby to term. Furthermore, many families would struggle to provide proper care to their child, since it can be financially taxing to raise a child with genetic disabilities.

The last bill, House Bill 1081, aims to prevent partial birth abortions. Partial birth abortions occur during the second trimester, during the 12th-14th week. They dismember and remove the fetus by parts. They are the safest type of abortion so late in the term.

Without them, women would have to pick between riskier procedures that may have negative impacts on their own health. This bill unconstitutionally aims to prevent safe access to abortions later during the pregnancy.

While these bills still must pass through the House and Senate prior to application, it is unlikely that there will be much objection. Hopefully, the lack of constitutional support for these bills will help ban them.

In the meantime, women in Louisiana continue to face attacks on their reproductive freedoms. This is unfair and illegal, yet effort upon effort continues to be made to strip women of their right to choose.

Sarah is a sophomore at Newcomb-Tulane College. She can be reached at [email protected]