SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Louisiana may soon be seeing tighter restrictions on abortions state-wide that would bring more people to Shreveport to terminate their pregnancies.
The new law says abortion clinics have to have an admitting privilege with a nearby hospital. That means, if something goes wrong during the abortion, they can be transported to the hospital and be seen by a doctor faster. "When a physician is made to have admitting privileges to a hospital we know that there is a continuity of care there that can be watched over and guarded carefully and it's a good thing for women's health," says Mike Johnson with Louisiana Right to Life.
Debbie Hollis, president of Shreveport's National Organization of Women (NOW), says the bill is just another way to make abortions more difficult to get. "Our legislators were not doing this because they care about women, they're doing this because they were given lots of money by private interest lobby groups."
This would funnel women seeking abortions to Shreveport. "It's a rather appalling thought to think that other clinics in the state might close and this becomes the only place in the state where you can obtain an abortion," Johnson says.
The Louisiana Right to Life groups says that Shreveport already has the highest numbers of abortions in the state, but, when Shreveport is the only option left, those numbers will spike.
"That's going to put a huge burden on people who can't afford the travel, can't afford the overnight stay. There is a waiting period so they're going to have to find a hotel, they're going to have to feed themselves up here, they're going to have to leave their children behind when they come here for a simple medical procedure that should take less than 24 hours," says Hollis. "It's a perfectly legal medical procedure the state legislature cannot take that right away from women in Louisiana."
Similar measures have already been put in place in other states. In Texas, a law has already shuttered one-third of the clinics - with more expected to close this fall. One clinic in Mississippi is still open - but maybe not for long. Alabama's version of the law, leaves only two clinics open in the state. Another admitting privileges bill is on its way to the governor's desk in nearby Oklahoma.