search
Sections List
American Journal News

Louisiana declares abortion drugs ‘dangerous substances’ to add harsher penalties

The Louisiana Legislature gave final approval Thursday to a bill that would label two drugs used to induce labor and treat miscarriages as “controlled dangerous substances,” despite opposition from a broad group of medical professionals.

Hands with mifepristone
A patient prepares to take the first of two combination pills, mifepristone, for a medication abortion during a visit to a clinic in Kansas City, Kan., on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

The Louisiana Legislature gave final approval Thursday to a bill that would label two drugs used to induce labor and treat miscarriages as “controlled dangerous substances,” despite opposition from a broad group of medical professionals. 

The proposal from state Sen. Thomas Pressly, a Shreveport Republican, targets mifepristone and misoprostol, the two primary drugs used for medication abortions. His fellow senators voted 29-7 to advance the legislation to GOP Gov. Jeff Landry, a staunch anti-abortion advocate who is expected to sign it into law.

Louisiana would be the first state to attach criminal penalties to the medications.

Once the law takes effect Oct. 1, anyone who prescribes or dispenses either of the two medications without the proper authorization could face criminal penalties with the severity currently reserved for potentially addictive drugs such as Xanax and Valium.   

All five women who hold seats in the Senate voted for the Pressly bill, including Democratic Sens. Regina Barrow of Baton Rouge and Katrina Jackson-Andrews of Monroe. It was Jackson-Andrews who authored the trigger law that put Louisiana’s strict abortion in place two years ago. 

After the state House approved the measure Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris singled out Louisiana lawmakers on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, calling their action “absolutely unconscionable.”

Pressly brought his proposal forward after his pregnant sister was unknowingly given the drug by her estranged husband. Mason Herring, a Houston attorney, was sentenced in February to 180 days in prison and 10 years on probation for the crime, according to the Associated Press.   

A harsher punishment was needed for the offense, Pressly said, and the original version of his bill dealt only with the crime. Louisiana Right to Life, the state’s leading anti-abortion group, lobbied lawmakers to update the proposal and make mifepristone and misoprostol Schedule IV drugs. 

More than 200 Louisiana doctors signed a letter sent to Pressly asking him to remove the amendment. In it, they said the two medications are no more controlled dangerous substances than other commonly prescribed drugs such as insulin, Viagra and Ozempic.

If mifepristone and misoprostol become controlled substances, doctors prescribing them will need specialty licenses. Health care providers and pharmacists will also have to ensure their secure storage.

On the Senate floor, Sen. Royce Duplessis, D-New Orleans, questioned Pressly over whether his measure would prevent immediate access to the drugs in emergency situations. Pressly said those in urgent need would still be able to obtain needed medications through hospital emergency rooms.

“We’re using politics to decide how to govern care for women, and that should not be the case,” Duplessis later said in a statement. “Decision making like that is why we are last in maternal health outcomes.”

The legislation allows patients with a prescription to use the drugs, and it excludes pregnant women who take the medication from criminal penalties. It would be a felony crime for anyone else in possession of either of the medications, punishable by up to five years in prison. Anyone intending to distribute the drugs could face up to 10 years in prison.

The new legislation would also fall under Louisiana’s laws against racketeering, a designation typically used for organized crime and gang activity.

It is already illegal to use drugs to induce an abortion in Louisiana, which approved one of the nation’s strictest abortion bans in 2022 that took effect after the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the decision in Roe v. Wade that legalized the procedure.

This story was originally published by the Louisiana Illuminator


Read More
Emergency care for pregnant women at stake in Supreme Court case, Missouri doctor warns

Emergency care for pregnant women at stake in Supreme Court case, Missouri doctor warns

By Anna Spoerre, Missouri Independent - June 18, 2024
As a Texas city debates an abortion “travel ban,” maternal care is scarce in nearby rural counties

As a Texas city debates an abortion “travel ban,” maternal care is scarce in nearby rural counties

By Jayme Lozano Carver, The Texas Tribune - June 14, 2024
U.S. Supreme Court allows access to abortion pill, unanimously rejecting Texas challenge

U.S. Supreme Court allows access to abortion pill, unanimously rejecting Texas challenge

By Eleanor Klibanoff, Texas Tribune and Karen Brooks Harper, The Texas Tribune - June 13, 2024
Maine Democratic Party platform doubles down on support for reproductive, LGBTQ rights

Maine Democratic Party platform doubles down on support for reproductive, LGBTQ rights

By Evan Popp, Maine Morning Star - June 03, 2024
States are already collecting more abortion data. And HIPAA won’t always keep it private.

States are already collecting more abortion data. And HIPAA won’t always keep it private.

By Kelcie Moseley-Morris, Idaho Capital Sun - May 31, 2024
Republican Sam Brown worked for hardline anti-abortion group

Republican Sam Brown worked for hardline anti-abortion group

By Jesse Valentine - May 28, 2024
AJ News
Latest
Ted Cruz leverages Trump conviction on podcast for own personal gain

Ted Cruz leverages Trump conviction on podcast for own personal gain

By Jesse Valentine - June 11, 2024
Arizona Republican Kari Lake proposes massive cuts to Medicaid and Medicare

Arizona Republican Kari Lake proposes massive cuts to Medicaid and Medicare

By Jesse Valentine - June 10, 2024
Virginia U.S. Senate candidate Hung Cao says workplace diversity is ‘Marxism’

Virginia U.S. Senate candidate Hung Cao says workplace diversity is ‘Marxism’

By Jesse Valentine - June 06, 2024
Republican Bernie Moreno’s rags-to-riches story exposed as a lie

Republican Bernie Moreno’s rags-to-riches story exposed as a lie

By Jesse Valentine - May 24, 2024
What happens to clinics after a state bans abortion? They fight to survive.

What happens to clinics after a state bans abortion? They fight to survive.

By Chabeli Carrazana and Shefali Luthra - May 22, 2024
Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte took job at Caterpillar after tax fraud probe

Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte took job at Caterpillar after tax fraud probe

By Jesse Valentine - May 21, 2024
Alabama OB-GYN residencies dropped over 20% after Dobbs, state abortion ban, says analysis

Alabama OB-GYN residencies dropped over 20% after Dobbs, state abortion ban, says analysis

By Alander Rocha, Alabama Reflector - May 21, 2024
House GOP celebrates National Police Week while pushing to defund local law enforcement

House GOP celebrates National Police Week while pushing to defund local law enforcement

By Jesse Valentine - May 16, 2024
Evolution denier Mark Robinson could reshape North Carolina’s education system

Evolution denier Mark Robinson could reshape North Carolina’s education system

By Jesse Valentine - May 16, 2024
Republican Jay Ashcroft backs anti-abortion clinics that push lies and disinformation

Republican Jay Ashcroft backs anti-abortion clinics that push lies and disinformation

By Jesse Valentine - May 14, 2024
Republican Sam Brown’s assault on teacher unions could backfire

Republican Sam Brown’s assault on teacher unions could backfire

By Jesse Valentine - May 09, 2024
Florida abortion ban puts GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s anti-choice views in spotlight

Florida abortion ban puts GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s anti-choice views in spotlight

By Jesse Valentine - May 07, 2024
Trump leaves door open to banning medication abortion nationwide

Trump leaves door open to banning medication abortion nationwide

By Jennifer Shutt, States Newsroom - April 30, 2024
Republican Caroleene Dobson wants Alabama abortion ban to go nationwide

Republican Caroleene Dobson wants Alabama abortion ban to go nationwide

By Jesse Valentine - April 30, 2024
Ohio Gov. DeWine said he didn’t know of millions in FirstEnergy support. Is it plausible?

Ohio Gov. DeWine said he didn’t know of millions in FirstEnergy support. Is it plausible?

By Marty Schladen, Ohio Capital Journal - April 29, 2024
GOP Rep. Zach Nunn suggests laws against hate crime aren’t needed

GOP Rep. Zach Nunn suggests laws against hate crime aren’t needed

By Jesse Valentine - April 15, 2024
GOP Senate candidate Hung Cao blames racial equity for Baltimore bridge tragedy

GOP Senate candidate Hung Cao blames racial equity for Baltimore bridge tragedy

By Jesse Valentine - March 29, 2024
GOP Rep. Jennifer Kiggans donates thousands to far-right extremists

GOP Rep. Jennifer Kiggans donates thousands to far-right extremists

By Jesse Valentine - March 08, 2024
Ohio senate candidate Bernie Moreno: “Absolute pro-life no exceptions.”

Ohio senate candidate Bernie Moreno: “Absolute pro-life no exceptions.”

By Jesse Valentine - March 07, 2024
Anti-China Republicans pocket thousands from Chinese owned conglomerate

Anti-China Republicans pocket thousands from Chinese owned conglomerate

By Jesse Valentine - March 04, 2024
Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

By Jesse Valentine - February 26, 2024
Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

By Jesse Valentine - February 09, 2024
Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

By Annmarie Timmins, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 31, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

By Jesse Valentine - January 17, 2024
A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

By Bonnie Fuller - January 10, 2024
Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - January 08, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

By Ethan DeWitt, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 04, 2024
Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

By Jesse Valentine - December 22, 2023
Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

By - December 15, 2023
Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

By Jesse Valentine - December 08, 2023
Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

By Jesse Valentine - December 07, 2023
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

By Jesse Valentine - December 05, 2023
For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - November 30, 2023
Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

By Jesse Valentine - November 06, 2023
Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

By Jesse Valentine - November 03, 2023
Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today - October 24, 2023
Whitmer creates task force aiming to prevent gun violence in Michigan

Whitmer creates task force aiming to prevent gun violence in Michigan

By Jon King, Michigan Advance - June 20, 2024
Emergency care for pregnant women at stake in Supreme Court case, Missouri doctor warns

Emergency care for pregnant women at stake in Supreme Court case, Missouri doctor warns

By Anna Spoerre, Missouri Independent - June 18, 2024
In Grand Rapids, DeVos declines to say whether she’ll endorse Trump

In Grand Rapids, DeVos declines to say whether she’ll endorse Trump

By Kyle Davidson, Michigan Advance - June 18, 2024
Michigan Republican Mike Rogers worked for organization that threatened privacy rights

Michigan Republican Mike Rogers worked for organization that threatened privacy rights

By Jesse Valentine - June 18, 2024
Nevada Republican Sam Brown has ties to extremist who compared abortion to slavery

Nevada Republican Sam Brown has ties to extremist who compared abortion to slavery

By Jesse Valentine - June 18, 2024
U.S. Supreme Court overturns ban on bump stocks used in Las Vegas mass shooting

U.S. Supreme Court overturns ban on bump stocks used in Las Vegas mass shooting

By Ariana Figueroa, Pennsylvania Capital Star - June 14, 2024