Lawmakers respond to Louisiana House criminalization of abortion pills

Hours after the Louisiana House voted Tuesday to criminalize possession of mifepristone and misoprostol without a prescription, lawmakers reacted to the vote, with some expressing anger while others cheered the legislation.

This unprecedented legislation marks the first time a state has declared abortion drugs a controlled substance. The two drugs are used to induce a medicinal abortion.

The state House passed the bill by a vote of 64 in favor to 29, and it now goes back to the Senate for a unanimous vote. It would then go to the desk of Gov. Jeff Landry (R), who is expected to sign it.

Vice President Kamala Harris Posted on social media platform

“The Louisiana House just passed a bill that would make possession of a drug abortion a crime, with penalties of up to several years in prison,” she wrote. “Let's be clear: Donald Trump did this.”

State Sen. Thomas Pressly (R), who sponsored the bill, responded to Harris' comment, saying it was unconscionable for her to lie about his legislation, which began after his sister was unknowingly given the medication.

“Leaving out the part about 'not having a valid prescription' and our efforts to protect expectant mothers from abortion drugs by devilish husbands, that's quite a big omission. Do better,” Press release posted.

Democrat Representative Josh Gottheimer (NJ) said he was disgusted by the mood. He said he has introduced legislation that seeks to protect mifepristone and women's right to choose “across the country, as we do here in New Jersey.”

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) also released a statement after the vote, admonishing Republicans who passed the vote.

“If Louisiana is successful in passing this dangerous bill into law, other Republican-led states will follow. The only way to stop this onslaught of Republican attacks in Louisiana and across the country is through a concerted effort to build Democratic power in state legislatures,” DLCC National Press Secretary Sam Paisely said in a statement.

Although the measure is unpopular with pro-choice Democrats, pro-life groups celebrated the vote. The Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America group released a statement saying the legislation should not be controversial.

“Like morphine and Valium, the drugs in question will still be available by prescription for legitimate medical reasons – such as concern for miscarriage – but will be more difficult for abusers to obtain,” said the group's southern regional director Caitlin Connors, in the statement.

Attorney General Liz Murrill (right) said in a thread on X that she supports the legislation because the drugs are increasingly shipped from outside Louisiana.

The Louisiana Right to Life group posted online that it is proud of the state legislature for their support of the bill “and their advocacy for the health and safety of women and girls.”

Surgical abortion and medication abortion are already banned in Louisiana, except to save a patient's life or if the pregnancy is “medically futile.” In the state, it is illegal to mail abortion pills, but laws in other states allow doctors to continue prescribing and sending the medications through an online telehealth option.

The amendment makes it a criminal offense for anyone who does not have a prescription or is a licensed provider to possess the drugs. People can be jailed for up to five years.

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