BATON ROUGE, LA, May 22, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) — A pro-life bill that could close three of Louisiana’s five abortion facilities is expected to become law next week once it receives the signature of Gov. Bobby Jindal.
HB 388, which requires all abortion clinic doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of a clinic, received overwhelming bipartisan support. Introduced by Rep. Katrina Jackson, a Democrat, it passed the state House by a vote of 88-5 on Wednesday. It passed the state Senate on May 14 by a margin of 34-3.
The bill is similar to the one that passed Texas last year. Like the Texas law, it focuses on raising the standard of care for women seeking abortions, as opposed to making abortion itself illegal.
According to Operation Rescue Senior Policy Advisor Cheryl Sullenger, the “admitting privileges” tactic is popular among pro-life leaders “because of what we saw in Missouri.” Sullenger says that when the state passed the first admitting privileges law in the nation, it “made us realize how important that kind of law is. In Missouri, admitting privileges shut down all abortion clinics in the state. Now Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and other states are moving forward with this.”
Sullenger told LifeSiteNews that “it is revealing that hospitals don't want to associate with abortionists because of the liability that these abortionists are causing these hospitals. Honestly, they are a troubled lot, and they are substandard doctors, which means women are submitting to substandard care at abortion clinics.”
Louisiana could face lawsuits over the bill, which Jindal is expected to sign. Pro-abortion groups have filed lawsuits against Texas and several other states over their similar laws. However, Sullenger says she is confident the Louisiana bill will be upheld.
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“The hospital privilege requirement has already passed constitutional muster in the state of Missouri,” she explained. “It was [also] upheld by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in the Texas case, so its constitutionality is unquestioned. So it's basically sue-proof, as far as abortion clinics trying to block the laws through the court system.”
The law garnered praise from Louisiana Right to Life, which said in its press release that in addition to the admitting privileges, the law “clarifies that the “Women's Right to Know” law applies to chemical, as well as surgical abortions, and requires doctors who perform more than five abortions a year to maintain proper licensing.” Executive Director Benjamin Clapper said that “the overwhelming, bipartisan support of HB 388 shows that this measure is supported by Louisiana.”
Republican National Committee spokesperson Raffi Williams emailed that the bill “is a strong step to ensure that the life of the unborn is protected.” Sen. David Vitter, R-LA, likewise praised HB 388, telling LifeSiteNews that “as a proudly pro-life Member of the U.S. Senate, I’m always encouraged to see efforts to protect the unborn.”
Jindal, who is often viewed as a possible 2016 GOP presidential candidate, has tweeted that he intends to sign the law. In the tweet, Jindal said that HB 388 “will give women the health and safety protections they deserve.” Jindal is considered a policy-oriented politician, with a background as an advisor to former Health & Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson under President George W. Bush, and two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. In his speech at CPAC 2014, he focused heavily on education policy, the reform of which has been a focus of his gubernatorial administration.