HB 388, the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act, became Act 620 of the 2014 Legislative Session on June 12th 2014 when Governor Bobby Jindal signed it into law. The law was set to go into effect on September 1st 2014. Louisiana Right to Life provides a timeline with more information on the legislation and legal proceedings below allowing for easier access for the public and members of the media.
HB 388: Unsafe Abortion Protection Act; Authored by Representative Katrina Jackson (D-Monroe)
The Unsafe Abortion Protection Act has three main components:
HB 388 will require abortion providers to have admitting privileges within 30 miles of a local hospital. The surgical instruments and procedures used to forcibly terminate a healthy pregnancy subject women to dangerous risks that have often resulted in death and other serious complications. 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 his patient if an emergency arises. The proposed law would require the same standard for surgical abortion providers. The bill tracks the language of a 2013 Texas law that was reinstated as "likely to succeed on the merits" by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals following a legal challenge by Planned Parenthood. A final ruling, which legal analysts expect to be favorable, is expected this Spring.
HB 388 will clarify that informed consent protections apply to both surgical abortion, as well as to RU-486 chemical abortion. This portion of the bill clarifies that physicians in both private offices as well as in licensed outpatient abortion facilities owe women the same informed consent protections and 24-hour reflection period, whether the abortion is surgical or chemical. These protections include a department of health booklet that depicts the development of the unborn child, the short and long-term medical risks of abortion, information on agencies that provide alternatives, and the opportunity to view an ultrasound and hear the heartbeat of the unborn child.
HB 388 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 and inspections for physicians who perform five or more abortions per year.