DHH To Hold Public Hearing On New Abortion Regulations
Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals will hold a public hearing Feb. 4 about new abortion regulations one attorney said are aimed to shutter the state's five abortion clinics.
New Orleans attorney Ellie T. Schilling, who is representing the facilities, told The Advocate Jan. 30 the new regulations "pose an undue burden on a woman's access to abortion services."
The 20-page emergency declaration rewrote licensing requirements for abortion clinics, specifying things like square-footage requirements for the facilities and requiring women seeking the procedure to undergo a blood test that often takes 30 days for results.
The DHH maintains it authored the new regulations while accommodating for two abortion-focused amendments that passed with tremendous support during the 2013 legislative session.
State Sen. Fred Mills, R-St. Martinville, authored Act 259 that prohibits "tele-med" abortions, during which the woman ingests abortion-inducing medication while a physician supervises via webcam.
State Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Denham Springs, authored Act 260, which adds coerced abortion — when parents might force a minor child to have an abortion, for example — to the definition of child abuse.
"This action is being taken to promote the health and welfare of Louisiana citizens by assuring the health and safety of women seeking health care services at licensed abortion facilities," the DHH's November 2013 declaration reads.
Louisiana's five abortion clinics are in New Orleans, Metairie, Baton Rouge, Shreveport and Bossier City.