Louisiana one of nine states with ‘trigger law’ that outlaws abortion

Published 6:00 am Sunday, June 26, 2022

Abortion is no longer legally available in Louisiana. The Supreme Court ended the nation’s constitutional protection on Friday and earlier this week, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed sweeping legislation that would ban the procedure in nearly all circumstances.

Louisiana is one of nine states with an abortion “trigger law,” meaning abortion was outlawed immediately with the announcement of the overturn of Roe v. Wade.

“The Court’s decision has rolled back our rights to such a degree that it will severely limit abortion access in at least 26 states and territories, including Louisiana,” said Jessica Franel, coordinator for Louisiana Coalition for Reproductive Freedom.

The LCRF is a statewide alliance of organizations and individuals who work to ensure sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice for all people through advocacy, law and policy change.

“The decision was both expected and horrifying,” said Carolyn Woosley, a member of Indivisible SWLA who is working alongside the Calcasieu Democrats.

Woosley sees the decision as jeopardizing the right to privacy, one that will affect the lives of young women — especially the marginalized. She’s concerned about a future in which the Supreme Court might strip other rights, such as the right to contraception.

“We want abortion safe, legal and rare,” she said. “We’re not advocating for abortion, something that’s not often made clear in the media. It’s about the right to make your own decisions on your life, your health.”

New Life Counseling Center is a pregnancy resource center that has served Southwest Louisiana for 37 years. Recently, the center added abortion pill reversal and STD testing and treatment, for free, in addition to its other services — pregnancy tests, ultrasound and counseling.

“The Supreme Court’s decision is a long-awaited answered prayer,” said Tabitha Dugas, executive director for New Life Counseling Center. “As far as our mission, it remains the same, educate and empower women, to serve and help mothers become the best they can be.”

Louisiana has three abortion centers and “not a lot of informed consent as far as what abortion looks like and what it entails,” Dugas said. Those facilities will no longer be able to provide abortions.

“It’s a good day,” said Becky Girola, ABC Pregnancy Center director.

“I’ve been in the crisis pregnancy ministry for 10 years now and we see women who are seeking abortions and women who have already had abortions. Abortion is not good for women. We value every human life, not just the babies but the mama.”

Girola said the center has issued an estimated 300 pregnancy tests this year and about ⅓ of those pregnancies were unplanned.

She said Louisiana Legislature also passed a bill that bans women from receiving the medicine for drug-induced abortions. The bill does not outlaw the morning-after pill.

“I have a friend who researched the ease with which one could obtain these drugs,” Girola said. “She was able to receive the drugs from three different online sites, no questions asked.”

Girola said the pills could kill the baby and the mother, and women with ectopic pregnancies are particularly at risk. The ABC Pregnancy Center provides alternatives to abortion. It will continue to help mothers with its classes on financial literacy, parenting and other resources, including adoption options and working to remove the stigma associated with adoption, Girola said.

“We have a huge amount of work ahead of us. We will continue our work of  “loving mama, loving life and loving babies,” Girola said.

Jane Roe was the pseudonym of the woman who challenged criminal abortion laws in Texas because it infringed on a woman’s right to privacy. The district attorney for the county was Henry Wade. The landmark ruling was made in 1973.