The Louisiana House of Representatives on Monday approved a bill to impose new restrictions on abortion clinics, adopting a measure similar to one in other states that have forced clinics to shut down.
Without discussion, the House voted 85-6 to approve the bill, which requires physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at an adequately equipped hospital within 30 miles (48 km) of the place where the abortion is performed.
The bill was backed by Republican Governor Bobby Jindal and sponsored by Democratic Representative Katrina Jackson, who chairs the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus. The bill next goes to the state Senate. No vote has been scheduled yet.
“This is about the safety of women,” Jackson said, noting a federal appeals court has upheld a Texas law that contains the same language as the Louisiana bill.
Admitting privileges allow a doctor to admit a patient for treatment at a hospital usually by being an approved caregiver who can use hospital facilities for treatment.
Abortion rights groups have said the privileges provision is designed to close clinics in rural areas where medical care can be sparse, and unnecessary because abortion complications, albeit rare, are usually similar to those of a miscarriage, which often are treated by emergency room physicians.
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