Monday, January 27, 2014


EDIT 1/29/14: DATE AND ROOM CHANGE -- the hearing is now TUESDAY, FEB 4 AT 1PM, Room 173. Email for info or to get more involved.

Oh, Lawd. I am online bright and early to share this news uncovered by some fellow abortioneers in Louisiana. It's scary and needs immediate attention, so please forgive this hasty reblog (from the folks at New Orleans Abortion Fund, with their permission) and take action quickly: show up for the hearing on Wednesday, or write a letter/email for DHH by Tuesday -- see details in purple below.

URGENT: Hearing on "backdoor abortion ban," new clinic regulations in Louisiana

It may not be easy to get excited over 21 pages of Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals regulations, but you'll want to hear about this!

Just before Thanksgiving, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) issued new "emergency" regulations that overhauled the existing regulations on abortion clinics. These 21 pages of rules give DHH the authority to immediately shut down a clinic without opportunity for appeal, even for simple infractions. Clinics have stated that they would be unable to meet the burdensome and excessive requirements, and this would lead to the closure of all five clinics in Louisiana.

DHH's new regulations are another manifestation of the "TRAP" (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws that are sweeping the country. They represent an effective ban on abortion, especially for the low-income women that NOAF serves, who cannot afford to travel. Here are some examples of new provisions:
  • Patients must have documented in their charts that hemoglobin and Rh factor lab tests were performed at least 30 days prior to the abortion procedure. This means that some patients will risk being beyond the 20 week deadline in Louisiana (and earlier than that at most clinics) to have an abortion, and will add to the procedure costs for all patients, as they will have to wait an additional month.
  • Each clinic who is applying for a new license must submit a "certificate of need" to the State proving the need for their services. In many other circumstances, such as any change to the location or the ownership of an existing clinic, existing clinics must apply for a brand-new license and (re-)satisfy the certificate of need requirement. The subjective nature of these requirements allows the State to severely restrict new licenses and will provide the State with a mechanism for refusing to allow existing clinics to renew their licenses to operate.
  • There is no right to appeal deficiencies to any unbiased body outside of the Department of Health and Hospitals. Therefore, every deficiency that a clinic is cited with will be allowed to stand, and those deficiencies are often later used to revoke a clinic’s license on the basis of being a “repeat” offender.
  • The new regulations require that all facilities have very specific square footage requirements that are far larger than any currently operating abortion facility. They would be prohibitively expensive to construct, and the requirements have no medical necessity. If the regulations are allowed to go into effect, no clinic will be in compliance on the day the regulations are implemented, and the State will have the ability to shut down every existing abortion clinic in the State.

These regulations were originally enacted without public comment and with no clear indication of need. There will finally be a hearing on Tuesday, February 4 at 1:00pm in Room 173 of the Bienville Building, 628 North 4th Street in Baton Rouge. The New Orleans Abortion Fund and members of allied organizations will be testifying and presenting written comments from advocates, providers, and women who have recently obtained abortions at affected clinics at the public hearing.

The people of Louisiana need your support! Please consider attending this hearing and/or submitting written comments. We have created talking points and a sample letter [PDFs]. Feel free to copy and paste (and re-format if needed!), but please consider adding your personal thoughts.

Hearing details:
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 9:30am - get there early; we are packing the place!
Bienville Building, Room 118, 628 North 4th Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802
NOTE: NOAF and our allies are wearing purple!

If you cannot attend the hearing, we can print and hand-deliver your written comments at the hearing -- you MUST include your full name and address. Email your letter to by Monday, February3 at 8:00pm CST

Thank you! Together, we can fight back!