Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards recently signed five new bills into laws that are aimed at protecting unborn children. One takes effect immediately and the others on August 1.
Gov. Edwards is a Democrat who opposes abortion. When his wife was 20 weeks pregnant with their first child, a doctor discovered their daughter Samantha had spina bifida and encouraged them to abort her. They refused and years later, Samantha is now married and working as a school counselor.
The first bill, HB 578, known as “The Abortion Pill Reversal Disclosure Act,” requires medical staff to inform women taking the abortion pill that the drug-induced effort to terminate a pregnancy could be reversed and the baby’s life saved. The abortion pill reversal protocol has been credited with saving more than 2,000 children’s lives. Both the state Senate and the state House previously overwhelmingly passed the bill.
Mifepristone, when used together with misoprostol, can be administered up to 10 weeks into a pregnancy when the baby already has a beating heart as well as arms and legs. The first pill in the regimen, mifepristone, cuts off blood and nutrients to the baby, slowly starving it to death over one to two days. The second pill induces labor.
HB 578 includes information about the abortion pill reversal protocol to state informed consent requirements and requires abortion facilities to inform women that the first abortion drug, mifepristone, may be reversed. The legislation requires an abortionist dispensing abortion pills to provide women with the following statement: “Research has indicated that the first pill provided, identified as mifepristone, is not always effective in ending a pregnancy. If after taking the first pill you regret your decision, please consult a physician or health care provider immediately to determine if there are options available to assist you in continuing your pregnancy.”
Gov. Edwards also signed HB 357 which requires that any minor who wants an abortion without a parent’s permission must petition to a court in her local area instead of where the abortion facility is located, as the law currently stands. The new law also requires more information to be collected, including zip codes, regarding the circumstances around abortions in Louisiana particularly for minors.
The third bill is HB 423 which requires hospitals to provide data to the state about abortion complications that they treat. Since most complications that arise after an abortion are treated by a local hospital instead of an outpatient abortion facility, this legislation ensures that the state has better statistics on the rate of complications from abortion. Under the new law, the Department of Health must share reports on a quarterly basis about abortions performed on children under 13 with the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services and Louisiana’s attorney general.
Fourth, HB 218 allows Baby Boxes to be installed in hospitals to discreetly allow mothers to surrender their newborn babies up to 60 days old to authorities without repercussions if they cannot care for their child. Once the child has been placed in the box, medical care is immediately provided to the child before the baby is placed for adoption. According to the National Safe Haven Alliance, more than 4,000 babies have been saved to date because of safe haven laws.
Finally, Gov. Edwards eliminates state sales tax on feminine hygiene products and diapers, making it more affordable for families to obtain the necessities required to raise their children. This law went into effect immediately on signing.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “I applaud Governor Edwards and Louisiana legislators for protecting the lives of precious unborn babies. Louisiana is leading the way in the fight to make the womb a safe place once again in America.”