Louisiana bans ‘coerced criminal abortion,’ mandates prescription for abortion drugs

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Louisiana has passed a law that punishes anyone who forces a pregnant woman to take an abortion-inducing drug without her consent or via fraud, while also requiring a prescription to possess such drugs.

Republican Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry signed Senate Bill 276, also known as the Abortion by Fraud Criminalization Act, into law last Friday. 

“Coerced criminal abortion by means of fraud is committed when a person knowingly and intentionally engages in the use or attempted use of an abortion-inducing drug on a pregnant woman, without her knowledge or consent, to cause an abortion,” SB 276 states. “… whoever commits the crime of coerced criminal abortion by means of fraud shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not less than five years" and no more than 10 years, or fined between $10,000 to $75,000, or face both prison and a fine. 

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Landry said in a statement released last Friday that he believes the new law “protects women across Louisiana” and he was “proud to sign” the legislation.

“Requiring an abortion inducing drug to be obtained with a prescription and criminalizing the use of an abortion drug on an unsuspecting mother is nothing short of common sense,” Landry added.

Sarah Zagorski, communications director for Louisiana Right to Life, applauded the legislation, saying in a statement last week that she believes the new law “will deter bad actors from obtaining these medications.”

“We also want to thank [state] Sen. [Thomas] Pressly for his courageous persistence with SB 276 despite numerous attacks from abortion proponents who mischaracterized his legislation,” she stated.

“SB 276 will not stop physicians from prescribing these medications for legitimate health purposes nor will it criminalize a pregnant woman taking the abortion pill.”

Introduced in March, SB 276 passed the Louisiana House of Representatives in a vote of 65 to 31, then approved with amendments by the Senate in a vote of 29 to 7.

The legislation was reportedly inspired by Pressley’s sister being poisoned by her former husband with abortion-inducing drugs while she was pregnant, which had been given to her via multiple spiked drinks.

Critics of the proposed legislation included Vice President Kamala Harris, who took to her X account to claim that the bill banned abortion medication in general.

“Absolutely unconscionable. The Louisiana House just passed a bill that would criminalize the possession of medication abortion, with penalties of up to several years of jail time. Let’s be clear: Donald Trump did this,” Harris wrote.

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