Louisiana House passes bill making abortion pills controlled substances

Sponsored by Republican state Sen Thomas Pressly, Senate Bill 276 aims to criminalize the administration of abortion medication without consent….reports Asian Lite News

The Louisiana state House recently approved an amended bill that could have profound implications for reproductive rights and healthcare in the state. This bill, which passed with a vote of 64-29, seeks to classify the abortion-inducing drugs misoprostol and mifepristone as Schedule IV controlled dangerous substances, placing them in the same category as highly regulated drugs such as narcotics and depressants, CNN reported.

Sponsored by Republican state Sen Thomas Pressly, Senate Bill 276 aims to criminalize the administration of abortion medication without consent.

The amendment to classify these drugs as Schedule IV substances was introduced after the bill passed out of the Senate, highlighting the contentious nature of the issue.

Pressly’s motivation for proposing this legislation stems from personal experience, as he revealed that his sister was given misoprostol against her will. It’s important to note that abortion is already banned in Louisiana without exceptions for cases of rape or incest, making this bill even more restrictive, as reported by CNN.

The process of a medication abortion involves taking mifepristone, which blocks the hormone progesterone necessary for pregnancy continuation, followed by misoprostol within the next 24 to 48 hours to induce uterine contractions.

While misoprostol has been available at pharmacies for decades and is approved for various medical uses, including preventing stomach ulcers, its inclusion in this bill as a controlled substance raises significant concerns.

Under the amended bill, possessing these drugs without a valid prescription could result in felony charges, punishable by up to five years in prison and fines of up to USD 5,000. However, there is an exemption for pregnant individuals in possession of mifepristone and misoprostol for their own consumption, and doctors would still be able to prescribe the drugs, according to CNN.

Despite the bill’s passage in the House, it has faced widespread criticism from various quarters. Vice President Kamala Harris condemned the bill as “absolutely unconscionable,” attributing it to the policies of former President Donald Trump. Conversely, the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America celebrated the bill’s passage, framing it as a necessary measure to prevent drug abuse while ensuring access for legitimate medical reasons, such as miscarriage care.

The controversy surrounding the bill has sparked outcry from a group of nearly 270 Louisiana physicians, health care providers, and medical students, who signed a letter expressing concerns over the reclassification of mifepristone and misoprostol. They argue that these drugs have not been shown to have any potential for abuse or dependence and are widely prescribed and taken safely for medical purposes.

In response to these concerns, Pressly defended the bill, asserting that it would not prohibit the prescription or dispensation of mifepristone and misoprostol for legitimate medical reasons. He further stated that the provision would not harm healthcare for women, citing consultations with medical professionals.

If the state Senate accepts the amended bill passed by the House, it will proceed to the desk of Republican Gov Jeff Landry for final approval. If signed into law, Louisiana would become the only state to classify abortion drugs as controlled dangerous substances, potentially setting a precedent for other states to follow suit, CNN reported. (ANI)

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