Abortion by Fraud Act Passes Senate in Majority Vote

Today, the Abortion by Fraud Criminalization Act (SB 276) passed the Louisiana Senate in a majority vote of 29-7. SB 276 creates the crime of coerced abortion by means of fraud and places the medication on Schedule IV of the Uniform Controlled Substance List. SB 276 does not prohibit the medications to be used in healthcare situations that do not result in elective abortion. Now the legislation awaits Governor Jeff Landry’s signature.

In response to the onslaught of misinformation regarding SB 276, Louisiana Right to Life is providing the following facts:

  • The abortion pills should be added as controlled substances because they are being abused and are a risk to public health. The story of what happened to Sen. Pressly’s sister is only one example of the abuse.
  • State law (RS 40:962) says that abuse and risk to public health are criteria to consider for the inclusion of a drug in the controlled substance list.
  • Healthcare practitioners use controlled substances on a regular basis, even in emergency situations. 95% of doctors in the state can prescribe controlled substances.
  • The law is clear that if either mifepristone or misoprostol needs to be used for a legitimate purpose other than elective abortion, it is legal.
  • The committee amendment states that it is not a violation of the law “for a pregnant woman to possess mifepristone or misoprostol for her own consumption.” Beyond that, it is already illegal for a person to possess a prescription drug without a valid prescription. This bill strengthens that law in hopes of stopping the abuse of the pills that led to the damage done to Catherine Herring and her daughter.

Sarah Zagorski, the Communications Director for Louisiana Right to Life said, “We are proud of Sen. Pressly’s outstanding defense of SB 276, which will protect women like his sister for decades to come. We also want to thank Senator Heather Cloud as well as Senator Jay Morris for sharing their support for SB 276.”

Zagorski added, “The intention of SB 276 is to stop the abortion industry from profiting off of abuse and trafficking of vulnerable women through their flagrantly illegal distribution of pills.”

It is evident from Sen. Pressly’s own testimony that the illegal distribution of the abortion pill is out-of-control in Louisiana, with young girls receiving the pills without parental consent, physician oversight and far past the gestational limit set forth by the Food and Drug Administration.”

Notably, not one female Senator voted against SB 278. It is important too that neither the State Medical Society nor the Louisiana Hospital Association opposed SB 276.

Sen. Pressly shared during Floor Debate the testimony of Dr. John Voltz from Lafayette highlighting the need to add abortion pills to the Uniform Controlled Substance List Schedule IV. Dr. Voltz also explains why adding the pills to Schedule IV will not result in a delay of care as abortion proponents claim. He said:

“This week, I saw a minor girl after she ordered abortion pills online. This is dangerous because there is no appropriate screening for health risks such as ectopic pregnancies. If a woman presents herself in an emergency and is bleeding, surgical intervention is necessary rather than medication such as Misoprostol. It is my opinion that placing the abortion pills in the controlled substance list will not result in a delay of care in emergencies. Healthcare providers are used to handling controlled substances on a regular basis. Rather, it will take important steps to stop a dangerous industry that threatens the health of women.”

Dr. Amber Shemwell, an OBGYN from Monroe, also shared the risks the abortion pill poses for women’s health in Louisiana:

“From my experience in Northeast Louisiana, medications such as mifepristone and misoprostol are recklessly available online and on the street without a prescription or a physician’s exam. Without proper physician screening for ectopic and molar pregnancies, these medications have the potential to be dangerous. For these reasons, I support categorizing both of these medications as controlled substances. Physicians commonly use controlled substances, and I’m confident that my care for women will not be harmed by this legislation, even as it applies to the appropriate use of misoprostol in my practice.”

Sen. Pressly was inspired to author legislation after his sister, Catherine Herring, was poisoned by her former husband with abortion-inducing drugs. He attempted to give his then-wife seven spiked drinks with the abortion pill combination, mifepristone and misoprostol. Herring’s daughter survived, however, was born 10-weeks early and attends therapy 8-times a week.

Read Louisiana Right to Life’s Investigative Report: The Rampant Abuse of Abortion Pills.