Louisiana Republicans Want to Make It Harder to Obtain a Medication That Stops Postpartum Hemorrhages

Antiabortion Republicans talk a big game about caring about the sanctity of life, but as they’ve made abundantly clear, the only thing they care about is controlling women’s bodies—and in fact, could not give less of a f–k about pregnant people or the babies they want to force people to have. We know this because of:

Oh, and now we also know it because lawmakers in Louisiana—home of one of the most extreme abortion bans in the country*—are so zealous about eradicating abortion that they’re proposing legislation that would categorize mifepristone and misoprostol as controlled dangerous substances on par with opioids and other highly addictive prescription drugs.

Per The Washington Post:

The amendment would list mifepristone and misoprostol under the state’s Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act…It elicited a strong reaction from more than 240 Louisiana doctors, who called it “not scientifically based.”

The pending language appears to open yet another front in the country’s bitter battle over if and how women can obtain an abortion. Attempts to curtail medication abortions—which now constitute more than half of all abortions in the United States—are part of legislative agendas not just in deep-red Louisiana but in many Republican-controlled statehouses. And in March, the US Supreme Court heard arguments in a case brought against the Food and Drug Administration by a group of antiabortion doctors seeking to limit access to mifepristone.

The legislation was sponsored by Republican state senator Thomas Pressly, whose sister testified that her then husband spiked her drink with an abortion drug, which caused her to have “intense cramping.” (Doctors were able to save the pregnancy and Pressly’s former brother-in-law was sentenced to 180 days in jail; the bill would carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a $75,000 fine.)

Obviously, no one disagrees with the fact that what happened to Pressly’s sister was horrific. But medical professionals do not think it should lead to laws that will curtail the ability of people who want to have abortions being able to do so, or classify a medication as a controlled substance that does much more than induce abortions. “Adding a safe, medically indicated drug for miscarriage management … creates the false perception that these are dangerous drugs that require additional regulation,” a group of Louisiana doctors wrote to Pressly. Crucially, the doctors noted that misoprostol is also used to prevent gastrointestinal ulcers and to safely help induce labor in people who are ready to give birth. As the Post notes, misoprostol is also used after someone has a miscarriage (when they body does not pass the tissue on its own) and “to help stop postpartum hemorrhage, one of the leading causes of maternal mortality in the state.”

“Given its historically poor maternal health outcomes, Louisiana should prioritize safe and evidence-based care for pregnant women,” the doctors wrote to Pressly. As Neelima Sukhavasi, an OB/GYN in Baton Rouge and a fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health, told the Post: “To OB/GYNs, this is very worrisome. There’s no one that would endorse what happened to [Pressly’s] sister. But this is a safe medication that has many important lifesaving uses. It’s not addictive.” Nimra Chowdhry, senior state legislative counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, put it more bluntly, saying the legislation if passed “turns back the clock on modern medicine.” As in the kind that stops postpartum women from bleeding to death.

*Which recently rejected a plea for child rape victims to be able to obtain abortions.

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