Louisiana lawmakers advance bill to reclassify abortion drugs, worrying doctors

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana lawmakers introduced a bill Tuesday that would make it a crime to possess two abortion-inducing drugs without a prescription, a move that doctors fear could prevent them from properly treating their patients. timely. .

Under the bill, which seeks to reclassify mifepristone and misoprostol, pregnant patients would still be able to possess the drugs with a valid prescription. Separately, more than 200 doctors signed a letter to lawmakers saying the measure could produce a “barrier to physicians’ ease of prescribing appropriate treatment” and cause unnecessary fear and confusion among both patients and physicians. The bill now goes to the Senate.

The US Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone in 2000 to terminate pregnancy, when used in combination with misoprostol. The U.S. Supreme Court in March heard arguments on behalf of doctors who oppose abortion and want to restrict access to mifepristone. However, the judges did not seem willing to limit access to the pill.

The reclassification of the two drugs in Louisiana is an amendment to a bill originating in the Senate that would create the crime of “criminal forced abortion by fraud,” prohibiting a person from knowingly using medication to cause or attempt to cause an abortion without El knowledge or consent of the pregnant person. The amended bill must now return to the Senate. Specifically, the amendment aims to label the drugs as Schedule IV drugs under the state’s Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act.

The bill, with the amendment, passed the GOP-controlled Louisiana House of Representatives by a vote of 66 to 30.

Louisiana has a near-total ban on abortion, which applies to both medical and surgical abortions. The only exceptions to the ban are if there is a substantial risk of death or impairment to the mother if she continues the pregnancy or in the case of “medically futile” pregnancies, when the fetus has a fatal anomaly.

Currently, 14 states are imposing abortion bans at all stages of pregnancy, with limited exceptions.