Louisiana Aims to Classify Abortion Pills as Scheduled Substances

(USNewsMag.com) – A new bill signed in Louisiana will classify two abortion medications as controlled substances in the state, making Louisiana the first state to classify abortion pills as such.

On Friday, May 24th, Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry signed legislation that would reclassify two abortion medications, misoprostol and mifepristone, under the category of a Schedule IV controlled substance. Under the new law, anyone caught in Louisiana with either of the two drugs without a prescription from a doctor may face up to a decade in prison.

SB276 passed the state Senate the day before, on Thursday, May 23rd, in a vote of 29-7. The bill was submitted in March by Republican Louisiana Sen. Thomas Pressly of Shreveport after his brother-in-law allegedly slipped the abortion medication into his wife’s drink. Pressly’s sister, a resident of Texas, figured out what was going on and had her water tested, discovering the plot by her husband to secretly kill their unborn baby. Pressly told reporters at the time he was “grateful” his niece and sister survived what he described as an “incredibly cruel crime” and vowed “to make sure other women don’t have to go through this.”

The legislation established a new crime called “coerced criminal abortion,” a reclassification that was added later as an amendment.

Louisiana has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the nation. Aside from the heavy restrictions on abortion medications, abortion in general is already banned throughout the state at all stages of pregnancy. Although exceptions can be made if the pregnancy endangers a mother’s life, Louisiana does not allow exceptions for incest or sexual assault, making its restrictions among the heaviest in the country.

Opponents of the new legislation claim it will increase maternal mortality rates. They also note that the banned medications have alternative medical uses besides abortions, such as treating postpartum hemorrhages, constipation treatment, and to help prevent ulcers.

He responded to critics after the bill’s passing by saying he understood “that it may give some” of his fellow lawmakers “some heartburn,” and he believed it was “the right step” to stop future crimes using the medication.

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