Louisiana Republicans Pass Most Draconian Law Yet on Abortion Pill

Louisiana Republicans have passed a draconian bill classifying abortion pills as schedule IV “controlled dangerous substances”—and threatening anyone in possession of the pill without a prescription with prison and thousands of dollars in fines. The legislation is expected to be signed by Republican Governor Jeff Landry.

The soon-to-be law will go after both mifepristone and misoprostol, commonly known simply as the abortion pill. Prior to its final passage in the state Senate on Thursday, health care providers warned the bill will make it more difficult to treat miscarriages, as the legislation requires special licensing and controlled distribution of abortion pills.

Under Louisiana law, possession of a schedule IV controlled dangerous substance includes a fine up to $5,000, jail time from one to five years, or both. Distribution or possession with intent to distribute carries a fine up to $15,000 and imprisonment up to 10 years.

Louisiana legislation has steadily restricted access to the abortion pill in recent years. Legislation passed in 2022 banned abortion pills by mail, required abortion pills to be administered by a physician—not a nurse or other health care worker—and mandated any administration to be reported to the state’s Department of Health. When that law took effect, two abortion providers in the state shut down.

Conservatives have been working to ban abortion pills, used to terminate pregnancy in its first 10 weeks, since the overturning of Roe. The two-part abortion pill was first developed in France in the 1980s, with the Food and Drug Administration finally approving its distribution in the U.S. in 2000. By 2023, chemically induced abortions accounted for 63 percent of abortions nationwide. Anti-abortion activists have falsely claimed the pills are dangerous and that their effects can be reversed, while health care professionals insist they are the safest way to terminate early term pregnancies, including miscarriage.

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Kim browne

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