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BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (LifeSiteNews) — Lawmakers in Louisiana approved a bill to classify abortion pills as controlled substances under the law, making possession of the drugs without a prescription a criminal offense. The measure was designed to create tougher penalties for abusers who attempt to coerce abortions, and does not permit criminal prosecution of abortion-seeking women.

The state Senate on Wednesday greenlit the measure, dubbed the “Catherine and Josephine Herring Act,” after the state House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the bill earlier in the week. The measure will now head to Republican Gov. Jeff Landry’s desk for a signature. Gov. Landry is expected to sign it.

As written, the bill would put mifepristone and misoprostol, two drugs commonly used in combination to cause chemical abortions, on Louisiana’s list of Schedule IV drugs under its Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances law. Mifepristone works by blocking an unborn child’s access to the growth hormone progesterone, causing the child to starve to death, per Live Action. Misoprostol then triggers delivery of the deceased baby.

Time Magazine noted that “Schedule IV drugs are considered to have potential for abuse or dependence, and include Valium and Xanax.”

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If signed into law, Louisiana’s new bill would make possession of abortion drugs without a proper prescription a criminal offense carrying significant fines and up to 10 years behind bars. The proposal has sparked widespread outcry among high-profile pro-abortion individuals, including U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris.

“Absolutely unconscionable,” Harris said on X after the Louisiana House’s approval of the measure. She followed up with a similar post after the state Senate greenlit the bill, and in both messages claimed that Donald Trump was to blame for Louisiana’s proposed legislation. She did not expand on how Trump was supposed to have been responsible for the bill.

Responding to Harris on social media, Louisiana’s Gov. Landry quipped, “(y)ou know you’re doing something right when (Kamala Harris) criticizes you.”

Meanwhile, despite backlash from proponents of legal abortion, the immediate effects of the new Louisiana measure will be relatively limited.

Abortion is already illegal in Louisiana, and the Associated Press noted that “(c)urrent Louisiana law already requires a prescription for both (abortion) drugs and makes it a crime to use them to induce an abortion, in most cases.” Moreover, women who obtain the pills without a prescription would not be vulnerable to criminal penalties under the new legislation.

Critics have argued that classification of the drugs could put women at risk who need the medication to treat miscarriages. However, proponents point out that the pills would only be illegal without a prescription, meaning that their use for non-abortion purposes would remain fully legal.

Additionally, the bill was not fundamentally meant to address typical abortion-related situations.

In fact, the “Catherine and Josephine Herring Act” was originally drafted and introduced to beef up penalties for people who attempt to coerce abortions, inspired by a traumatic experience endured by the sister of the bill’s author.

State Sen. Thomas Pressly has stated that he was inspired to write the bill after his sister, Catherine Herring, was given drinks spiked with crushed-up abortion drugs by her ex-husband, who was attempting to cause an abortion. Herring reported discovering what had occurred and saving her child’s life by pursuing an abortion pill reversal treatment, but she ultimately gave birth to her daughter, Josephine, 10 weeks early. Her ex-husband received a six-month jail sentence, which Sen. Pressly argues was not sufficient.

Though the incident occurred in Texas, Pressly expressed a desire to ensure that the same thing wouldn’t take place in Louisiana. A later amendment to the bill added the language to place the abortion drugs on the list of Schedule IV controlled substances.

RELATED: Louisiana Senate unanimously passes bill to stop coerced abortion via deceptive use of pills

“Adding abortion drugs to the controlled substance list should be uncontroversial,” Caitlin Connors, southern regional director for Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, said in a press statement. “Like morphine and Valium, the drugs in question will still be available for prescription for legitimate medical reasons – like miscarriage care – but will be harder for abusers to obtain.”

“This move is necessary in a world where pro-abortion Democrats have enabled abusers to coerce and poison mothers with dangerous abortion drugs by removing in-person doctor visits and giving abortionists immunity through shield laws,” Connors said. “Women deserve better. We thank Sen. Pressly and the sponsors of the Catherine and Josephine Herring Act, and look forward to Gov. Landry signing this protection into law to hold abusers accountable.”

Meanwhile, Louisiana’s unique new proposal to place abortion drugs on the schedule of dangerous controlled substances comes as U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations concerning the pills are currently under serious scrutiny at the nation’s highest court.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up a case concerning the FDA’s regulation of mifepristone in December 2023. The Court declined to hear a challenge to the federal agency’s approval of the drug in 2000, but the justices agreed to assess whether or not the FDA operated within its capacity when it cut back regulations in multiple policy changes during the Biden administration, including a controversial 2021 move to allow pharmacists to send abortion pills through the mail as long as the recipient had a prescription.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case in March.