Thursday May 27, 2010

Major Pro-Life Abortion Law Changes Underway in Louisiana

By Peter J. Smith

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana, May 27, 2010 ( – The Louisiana State House is poised to approve two pieces of pro-life legislation. One of the bills would opt the state out of the national health care reform’s abortion mandates, while the other would empower the state’s health secretary to shut down the operations of all abortion clinics run by the same owner, when one clinic is found in violation of state law.

The Senate Health and Welfare Committee approved H.B. 1370, without amendment. The measure empowers the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary to “deny, refuse, or revoke” the operating licenses of outpatient abortion facilities if the state determines the “applicant or licensee is in violation of the law.”

Additionally, it states that “any owner, officer, member, manager, director, or administrator of the licensee may be prohibited from owning, managing, directing, or operating another outpatient abortion clinic in [Louisiana].”

The bill explains that the DHH secretary’s authority over abortion clinics will be the same as already applies to the licensing of hospitals.

At the same time, the Senate Health and Welfare Committee on Wednesday voted 5-2 to advance H.R. 1247, the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act, to the full Senate for debate.

The bill prohibits abortion coverage by health insurers in the state-run health insurance. It allows an exception for cases in which the mother’s life is in danger from “a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury” as well as “a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.”

However, the measure does offer protection, and not the usual exception, to those unborn children conceived in situations of rape and incest.

Benjamin Clapper, executive director of Louisiana Right to Life, lauded the passage of the bill out of committee, expressing confidence that the measure would pass the Senate and be signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal.

“This legislation reflects the strong belief of the people of Louisiana that abortion is not health care, and that government dollars should in no way fund abortion,” said Clapper.

The bill’s original form as passed by the House would have banned all private insurers in Louisiana from offering policies and plans that would pay for abortions. However the Senate committee amended the bill to apply to only those health insurers participating in the state exchanges mandated by the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The Associated Press reports that the bill’s House sponsor Rep. Frank Hoffmann (R-West Monroe) would support the measure as amended by the Senate, because to his knowledge no private health insurance companies in the state were offering to cover elective abortions.

See related coverage by

Louisiana Senate Overwhelmingly Advances Ultrasound Mandate for Abortion


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