Gov. Bobby Jindal signed three landmark abortion bills on Tuesday that significantly tighten the state’s regulations on abortionists and their practices, and opt out the state from the national health care reform’s abortion mandates.
Jindal signed two bills that were introduced and shepherded through the legislature by the Louisiana Right to Life Federation (LARTL). The Ultrasound before Abortion Act (SB 528) adds strict ultrasound requirements to the state’s informed consent laws. The law requires abortionists to perform an ultrasound on a woman at least two hours before she undergoes the induced abortion of her child, and before she is put under any kind of anesthesia.
Abortion facility employees must also follow a detailed script set forth in the legislation, offering pregnant mothers the opportunity to see the ultrasound image, hear a description of the image, and receive a printout of the ultrasound image. To guarantee compliance, legislators added a provision stating that abortionists failing to adhere to the law could expect to find themselves sued in civil court by their clients.
The other bill, the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out (HB 1247), prohibits health insurers from providing abortion coverage within the state-run health insurance exchange that will go into operation in 2014, as mandated by the national health care reform. A provision of the national law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, gives states the explicit right to ban health insurance companies receiving public subsidies under the state health exchange from providing abortion coverage.
The Louisiana measure even protects children conceived in situations of rape and incest, leaving just one exception for insurance companies – allowing them to pay for abortion in cases where the mother’s life is in danger from “a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury” including “a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.”
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