Abortion in Louisiana

11.25.2019

Primary Content
  1. Abortion in Louisiana is safe.
    • Approximately 10,000 women obtain abortions in Louisiana each year.1
    • The district court in our case found that "abortion has been extremely safe in Louisiana" for decades, with "particularly low rates of serious complications" when "compared with childbirth and with medical procedures that are far less regulated than abortion."2
    • In sharp contrast to the excellent safety of abortion, Louisiana ranks 48th among states when it comes to the health of women and children.3 Maternal mortality has increased 28% in Louisiana since 2016.4
  2. Abortion access in Louisiana is extremely limited.
    • Louisiana has only three clinics that provide abortions.
    • As of 2017, Louisiana ranked 44th among states (and the District of Columbia) in the ratio of abortion providers to women of reproductive age in the state. Louisiana has one clinic per 363,228 women aged 15 to 49.5
    • As of 2017, 94% of Louisiana parishes had no abortion clinic; and 72% of women lived in a parish without an abortion clinic.6
  3. Louisiana is one of the most anti-abortion states in the country.
    • Louisiana has a "trigger" abortion ban that would criminalize the provision of abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned or if a federal constitutional amendment allows states to determine abortion law and policy.
    • Louisiana banned abortions after 20 weeks in 2012, after 15 weeks in 2018, and after 6 weeks in 2019. The 15- and 6-week bans will become effective only if comparable bans in Mississippi are upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The 6-week ban includes no exceptions for rape or incest.
    • As one prominent Louisiana legislator has stated, "We've been named the top pro-life state in America... and we do it through making it tough to get an abortion in Louisiana."7
    "We've been named the top pro-life state in America... and we do it through making it tough to get an abortion in Louisiana."

    Louisiana lawmaker
    Representative Frank Hoffmann
    April 26, 2016

  4. Louisiana imposes more restrictions on abortion providers than almost any other state.
    • TRAP Scheme. Louisiana maintains a separate licensing scheme for clinics that provide abortions, which subjects abortion providers to onerous and medically unnecessary requirements not applicable to other healthcare providers.
    • Method Ban. Louisiana bans the method of abortion known as Dilation and Evacuation (D&E), which is the standard of care for abortions in the second trimester. (Not currently enforced due to Center lawsuit.)
    • Telemedicine Ban. Louisiana prohibits the use of telemedicine to provide medication abortions.
    • Biased Counseling. Louisiana has one of the most onerous "informed consent" schemes in the country, which mandates that abortion providers deliver biased counseling and forces patients to view an ultrasound and hear it described.
    • Mandatory Delays. Louisiana is one of six states that mandates a 72-hour waiting period. (Not currently enforced due to Center lawsuit, but pre-existing 24-hour waiting period remains in effect.)
    • Restrictions on Low-Income Women's Access. Women who qualify for state assistance for healthcare coverage are prohibited from using state funding for abortions, except in rare circumstances.
  5. Abortion clinics in Louisiana have closed as the restrictions on abortion providers have increased.
    • As recently as 2011, Louisiana had seven clinics in the state where people could access abortion care.
    • The number of clinics has steadily declined, leaving only five clinics in 2014, four clinics in 2016, and three clinics in 2017.
    • Louisiana's admitting privileges law, Act 620, would close at least two of the three remaining clinics.
  6. Abortion restrictions harm all patients, but in Louisiana, poor people, rural people, and people of color suffer most.
    • The overwhelming majority of people who have abortions in Louisiana are poor.8 Louisiana is one of the poorest states in the country, with the third-highest poverty rate in the nation.9
    • Most abortion patients in Louisiana are people of color. In 2015, more than 70% of abortion patients in Louisiana were women of color.10
    • Poor people in Louisiana are disproportionately people of color. In Louisiana, a Black person is roughly three times more likely than a White person to be poor.11
    • Because very few people in Louisiana have insurance that covers abortion care, poor people must choose between paying for an abortion and paying for basic necessities.12
    • Louisiana is a very rural state, and over 90% of people live in a parish that has no abortion clinic.
    • Nearly half (45%) of women in Louisiana must travel more than 50 miles to reach a clinic that provides abortions. The burdens associated with travel distances are compounded by Louisiana’s mandatory delay law, which effectively requires patients to make at least two trips to the clinic over multiple days.13