Bill Advances in Louisiana Requiring Women to Read Pamphlet Written By Abortion Opponents Before Procedure

| by Allison Geller

If passed, a new Louisiana law would require women to review a pamphlet about the mental health risks of abortion, written by abortion opponents, before going through with the procedure.

House Bill 1262 has already passed in the Louisiana House of Representatives. It would require abortion providers to give woman information about the “alleged psychological effects of abortion,” with a list of mental health resources. Then, patients would have to sign a form confirming they’d received the pamphlet, and wouldn’t be allowed to go through with the procedure until 24 hours had passed, according to Think Progress.

The people providing the information for the pamphlet would not include any abortion providers or mental health professionals, the Times-Picayune points out, but a panel of lawmakers and abortion opponents.

That material would supplement the information that is already given to women seeking abortion in Louisiana under the “Woman’s Right to Know” law, which includes information about fetal development and alternatives to abortion.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Barry Ivey, said the bill is necessary to combat the “potential psychiatric issues” of abortion.

During a debate earlier this month, House Republicans and supporters argued that the measure would help women make informed decisions about their health. Another point was about victims of human trafficking, who are sometimes forced into having abortions.

"These abortion facilities and these brochures can actually be a point of rescue," said Cindy Collins, founder of the anti-abortion organization the Louisiana Abortion Recovery Alliance.

But opponents, such as Sylvia Cochran, an administrator for abortion clinics in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, said the measure would just be another unnecessary obstacle for women seeking abortions in the state.

 "We follow the law and we go beyond that," she said. Later, she added, "It's just one thing after another. It's just another obstacle."

The proposal was approved with an overwhelming 80-10 vote Monday, and will now move to the Senate.

Sources: Think Progress, Associated Press (2)Times-Picayune