Abortion rights protest, sign readig "abolish patriarchal surveillance of women"

A woman holds a placard saying, "Abolish patriarchal surveillance of women" during a protest to demand safe and legal access to abortion on May 14, 2022.

(Photo: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

'Trump Is to Blame': Louisiana to Classify Abortion Pills as 'Dangerous' Drugs

"When Donald Trump says abortion should be left to the states, this is what he's advocating," said former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards.

Abortion rights advocates on Thursday said former Republican President Donald Trump bears responsibility for Louisiana's newly passed law that would classify two drugs used in medication abortions as controlled dangerous substances—a product, the critics said, of Trump's efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade, his advocacy for government surveillance of pregnant Americans, and his push to leave abortion laws up to the states.

The state Senate passed the bill Thursday, sending it to the desk of Republican Gov. Jeff Landry, who has indicated he plans to sign it.

State Sen. Thomas Pressly (R-38) is the lead sponsor of the bill, which principally aims to make it illegal to use mifepristone and misoprostol to induce an abortion in pregnant person without their knowledge and consent—an incident in which Pressly's sister was a victim in 2022 in Texas, but not one that Republicans found had ever happened in Louisiana.

After the original bill passed in the Senate, Pressly added a number of amendments including one classifying the medications as "controlled dangerous substances" and placing them alongside drugs including Flunitrazepam—which is marketed as Rohypnol and has been used to sedate victims of sexual assault—in Schedule IV in the state's drug scheduling system.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said the bill is proof that the right-wing push to restrict and ban abortion care has "always been about controlling women's bodies and futures," while Vice President Kamala Harris said that "Donald Trump is to blame" for a bill that could carry penalties including years of jail time for people found to have misoprostol and mifepristone without a prescription.

The amendment prompted outcry from more than 200 healthcare professionals across Louisiana as well as Louisiana Society of Addiction Medicine, which noted the drug scheduling system is meant to classify drugs based on their potential for abuse and takes into account their medical benefits.

In addition to being used in medication abortions—which are illegal in Louisiana under the state's near-total abortion ban—misoprostol is used regularly to induce labor, to prep a patient's cervix for an intrauterine device insertion, and to stop postpartum hemorrhaging, which is a leading cause of maternal mortality. Lousiana has among the highest maternal mortality rates in the nation.

Mifepristone is also approved by the Food and Drug Administration to help manage Cushing's syndrome, a disease in which a patient produces excess cortisol.

But with the two medications reclassified as dangerous drugs, medical professionals would be required to have a special license to prescribe them, and rural clinics may have limited access to them as they would have to be stored in specific facilities.

"When Donald Trump says abortion should be left to the states, this is what he's advocating," said former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards as the Republican runs for a second term in the White House.

State Sen. Roy Duplessis (D-5) said the bill will "lead to further harm down the road" for pregnant people.

"There's a reason we rank at the bottom in terms of maternal health outcomes, and this is why," he said.

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