Following a June 12 press conference at First Baptist Church in West Monroe, Gov. Bobby Jindal signed into law a bill that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, effectively shuttering several clinics statewide. The bill mirrors similar legislation in Texas, where doctors who provide abortions must have admitting privileges to a hospital within a 30-mile radius of their clinics. In less than a year following its passage, 14 of Texas' 36 clinics closed. Alabama, Mississippi and Oklahoma have passed or are considering similar legislation.
Jindal also signed a bill that prevents clinics from supplying sex education materials to schools. In a statement, Jindal said the legislation will "advance the dignity of human life and the safety and well being of women and children."
While the administrator for clinics in New Orleans and Baton Rouge is attempting to obtain admitting privileges, clinics in Metairie and Bossier City may be forced to close for lack of them. Only one clinic in Louisiana — one of two clinics in Shreveport — has a doctor with admitting privileges, but, as evidenced by similar laws enacted in Texas and lawsuits that followed, some doctors with admitting privileges could lose them.
The American College of Ob- stetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical As- sociation have opposed similar legislation in Texas and found "no medical basis" for requiring admitting privileges.
In a statement, Planned Parenthood Federation of America president Cecile Richards said, "Ignoring the protest of women's health experts, Governor Jindal is subjecting doctors who provide abortion to targeted restrictions under the guise of improving patient safety, despite the fact that abortion is already one of the safest medical procedures in the country." She added that "What is happening in Louisiana is part of a dangerous national trend ... where a woman's ability to make personal medical decisions without interference from politicians will be dependent upon where she happens to live. That cannot be what the Supreme Court intended when it established a woman's right to safe and legal abortion more than 40 years ago."
Jindal also signed House Bill 305 by state Rep. Frank Hoffman, R-West Monroe, which prohibits clinics and groups like Planned Parenthood from distributing sex education or reproductive health information to schools.
In a statement, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast's Louisiana director Melissa Flournoy said, "It makes no sense that the same politicians, like Governor Jindal, who want to end safe and legal abortion in this state also want to restrict the ability of our youth to get sex education from the leading experts in the field. ... These laws will harm, not help, women and families in our state."